We have already traveled through the Feasts of the Nativity, Circumcision and Theophany of Our Lord and are awaiting the culmination of this Festal Season with the Feast of the Presentation of Christ into the Temple in February. Today’s gospel comes to us from the Evangelist Luke chapter 18:18-27, which tells about the rich man who asked Jesus, “What can I do to receive eternal life?” This same story is read in early September from the Gospel of St. Matthew.
Jesus linked eternal life with faithful observance of the commandments of God. The Jewish rich ruler knew and kept the commandments throughout his life but Jesus said to him you are lacking one thing more; that is, sell everything you have and give it to the poor then follow me.
The rich Jew hearing these words became sad, for he was very rich, then Jesus responded by saying that it is not easy for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Those who had assembled and listening, said, “who then can be saved.” Jesus responding said, “what is impossible for man is possible for God.”
It has been said it is not a case of simply keeping the commandments but rather a case of the commandments keeping us. The commandments have often been referred to as “lifegiving,” and in this gospel Jesus calls us to be self-giving, completely devoting ourselves to not only giving but sharing.
Christ was a giver, and He desires that His followers also be givers. The higher righteousness of Christ centers on giving and sharing with all His creation. This is the genuine meaning of this gospel lesson from Luke, for Christ came not to be served but to serve others.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who willingly laid down His life for His friends, for us! Let us therefore Strive to imitate God’s perfect Love.