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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jesus and the Rich Man

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”  “Which ones?” he inquired.  Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 19:16-23

We have to ask, “did the young man really keep all the commandments?”  He seems to think he has, but it's highly doubtful. In Romans 3:10 Paul writes, “No one is righteous, no not one.”  Who is he trying to fool, Jesus?

Nevertheless, even if he hypothetically did keep all the commandments from birth, he would be doing better than King David himself, the greatest earthly king and sinner Israel ever had.  But more importantly Jesus asses that even if he was perfect in this regard, he still has failed the law.  How so?  As a wealthy person hoarding his riches he has not been merciful to the poor.  Mercy is the “new law” the Apostle James says.  Keeping the old law does not save as Paul states over and over in his writings.  All humans are consigned by God to be in need of mercy, and as a result, required to give mercy.

How religious are the religious today?  How righteous are those who do everything right?  It does not matter, does it?  Blessed Mother Theresa has summed it up well in recent times when she said . . .  "At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received. How much money we have made. How many great things we have done. We will be judged by - 'I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.'"

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