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Friday, October 12, 2012




         The rich young man (RYM) ran up, knelt before Jesus and asked: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 
         During the time of Jesus, a Jewish man never run because only slaves run; a dignified Jew would never kneel down before another Jew; it was unusual for a man to ask about eternal life.   Who was RYM? Why did he run, kneel and ask Jesus?
         Let us go deeper into the personality of RYM.   He was spiritually rich:    “Master I have kept the laws since my earliest days.”  It means that RYM  was a very righteous man hence very pious.  He was materially rich: because he had so many possessions, he was believed to be blessed by God. He was intellectually rich: because he was concerned about the seriousness of life and was asking about eternal life.  He was youthfully rich: he was young man!
         Here was a man who was at the top of the world.  When Jesus saw him, Jesus loved him because RYM was a very lovable person.  Jesus did not see the richness of RYM but rather the total emptiness in him so He said to him: “You need to do one more thing; 1) go and sell your possessions 2) give the money to the poor 3) come follow me.” Upon hearing this, RYM’s face fell because he was a man of great wealth.
         Now who is RYM in our present time?  RYM is a symbol of grand success, a fulfillment of everybody’s dream, a universal idol.  Every boy in the world will say “I want to be like him.” Many mothers will say “that’s what I want my child to be.”  Every girl will say “That’s what I want for my husband.”  But wait and listen to what RYM has to say “Do not be like me, I am empty and I am not happy.”  Why?  Because RYM was only wearing a mask.  Behind his perfection was a defect; behind his huge success was a complete failure; behind his happy face was his unspeakable sadness.
         When Jesus asked him to sell all his possessions, he could not let go of his material riches because those were his idols.  Therefore he could not follow Jesus who offered him the true riches in heaven. 
         We may not have the riches of RYM and even if we are materially poor yet in one way or another we may have our own idols that we worship in the deep recesses of our hearts.  Sometimes it is hard to confront these idols most especially when we have become so at home with them that we find it hard to part from them.  Some have even become second skin to us that letting go of them will cause us excruciating pain.  Others choose to be enslaved due to human weakness in spite of the effort to transcend the situation.   But we do not condemn them because the difficulty and dilemma of RYM in the gospel is also our very own.
         Material things in themselves are not evil; they are evil when they become our idols and we worship them either consciously or unconsciously as if our lives totally depend on them.
Jesus wants us to be free so that we can follow Him.  That is why, we need the grace of God and at the same time the support and compassion of our families and friends as we constantly battle against the idols in our lives.

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