As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’”
He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today we encounter one of my favorite motifs in the Gospels: Jesus conceals his divine identity while simultaneously revealing it. He shows the young man who he is, but Jesus does not do it by saying “I am God!” So how does Jesus do this? He takes the young man’s statement that Jesus is good and places it side-by-side with the statement that God alone is truly good. But then Jesus does something that only God can do, which is to essentially add to the Ten Commandments. Jesus adds a commandment to follow him and places it on par with the Commandments. It’s this concealing while also revealing way of saying, “Only God is good and I have done something that only God can do. So who do you say that I am?”
This motif is not limited to written Scriptures, but is at work in our days and lives as well. Where is God quietly revealing himself to be God to you?
Good and gracious God, you invite us to follow you, even though that path may not be an easy one. Help us to recognize you and your invitation to respond in a variety of situations and relationships in our lives. May we always place our trust in you, knowing that all things are possible through you. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
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