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Today we hear the Gospel from Luke 18:18-27, the story of the Rich Ruler who asked Jesus, “What can I do to inherit eternal life?”. This same story is read in late August/September, but from the account as written in Matthew.

Common to both readings is the theme that Jesus linked eternal life with the faithful observance of the commandments of God. He exhorted the rich man to obey the commandments, but Jesus asks the rich man to do one more thing in addition to obeying the ten commandments.

Jesus challenged the rich man to follow just as He himself did, the highest example of self-giving by devoting himself completely to God’s work, leading a celibate life and practicing poverty for the sake of the kingdom. As the story goes, the “young man”, as described in Matthew was unable to accomplish the challenge so he turned away saddened. Jesus then said, “What is impossible for man is possible for God”.

These words address us, for do we not also want to turn away from God when we realize how demanding Christ’s teachings are? Do we not silently think to ourselves, “Who then can be saved?” Indeed Christ’s higher righteousness is impossible for us to fulfill on the basis of our own efforts, but again His words to us, “What is impossible for man is indeed possible for God”. Amen!

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler