What Must I Do for Eternal Life, Homily

Ezekiel 24:15-23

Today in our First Reading we hear Ezekiel wanting to mourn the death of his wife, but the Lord calls him to groan in silence and ‘continue on’ with the work to which God has called him.

As we remember from last week, Ezekiel was calling his people to accept their exile in Babylon where they were taken in 597 by Nebuchadnezzar, and to accept the destruction of Jerusalem which was coming in 587.

Ezekiel believed that the exiles were the hope of Israel’s restoration once the allotted time for the exile had been accomplished.

In our Gospel from Matthew we hear the story of the young man who came up to Jesus asking what he must do to gain eternal life.

Jesus gives him a few examples from the 10 commandments to which the young man tells Him that he has observed all of these, and asks, what more must he must do.

You can almost see Jesus smile as He says, if you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, then come follow me.

We’re told the young man went away sad for he had many possessions. While that is probably true, it seems Jesus saw him coming a long way off and understood his deeper problem was his Richness of Spirit. Otherwise, Jesus would have increased the load he placed on the young man’s shoulders incrementally without going to the limit that He did.

Jesus knew that the young man’s possessions likely fed into his Richness of Spirit and that it takes a long time in life to reach the level of Poverty of Spirit to be truly useful to the Kingdom. But, since the young man persisted in pushing Jesus to make himself look good to those around Him, Jesus gave him the whole enchilada since nothing less would appeal to him or change him quick enough to be useful to Jesus in His short public ministry here on Earth.

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