Monday of the 20th Week of the Year

Matt 19:16-22

The Rich Young Man


It was a gathering of five business associates, well, good buddies really, who wanted to enjoy each other’s company, have some food and some drinks, to share experiences and just to forget about making money for awhile (or so everyone thought). It did not take long before one of them opened a topic on a business project he was on and everyone joined in the conversation enthusiastically except for Jay. Out of exasperation over this turn of events, Jay quickly put before the other four piece of paper with the word “GOD” in bold letters written on that piece of paper. Next he quickly took out a paper bill and covered the written word and asked his buddies if they still could read the word. All of them chorused “NO!” Jay continued by saying that it is precisely why anyone almost always fails to see God because of too much preoccupation with making money.

Indeed, it is very easy to be blinded by one’s preoccupation with the business of making money that he/she could easily forget the greater aspects in life. One such aspect would be one’s relationship with God. It is never an easy task, really, to be focused on things that are considered spiritual when we are often surrounded by material things and by mentalities that render such things with greater importance. The young man in the gospel was prevented from following our Lord because of this. Are we finding ourselves in a similar situation? There is a need then to rethink our priorities and refocus our attention towards the greater dimensions of life that really matter. ((Fr. Emmanuel Menguito, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


The story of the rich young man in our gospel today contains the stuff of everyday vocation story to follow Christ. One is made to accept a lifestyle wherein he/she is to leave loved ones, family and friends or even possessions including a comfortable lifestyle in order to follow Christ. To be a disciple means to be in a community where relationships grow in love and service. This means also to be ready to give up one’s culture and language and get immersed in a totally different context in order to spread the Good News.

The young man in today’s gospel sadly cannot reconcile his life’s priorities with the radical challenge of Christ to give up material wealth and comfort so that he can gain eternal life. At times, we are similarly faced by summons to give up and leave our comfort zone and security, help other people in need and distress. Have we even thought of trying? (Fr. Joe Mirabueno, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


I was once invited to a celebration in a university where a group of students were selling food and drinks for a cause. They set up a tent and few tables and chairs beneath for customers. Displayed in one corner of the tent were pictures of the babies at the baby’s Home run by our migrant center. Below the pictures were written:”Whatever amount we earn from the sale shall be given for the benefit of these babies.” Asked how did they come to know about the babies, they said they found them by surfing the internet and that they have decided to make them the beneficiaries of their activity.

For me it was specially touching because they didn’t even know me and the babies personally but still they made us the receiving end of their generosity. But most of all, it was very moving to find a group of young people (college students) so socially oriented. What we know of youth today is that many of them are concerned with the latest fashion, parties, discos, movies and other worldly affairs. Social or spiritual development may be their least priority.

The problem of youthful diversions is not new to our present generation. In the gospel today, the young man followed the natural law, he kept the Sabbath and had fear of the Lord but he went away sad when challenged to sell what he had and give to the poor because he  was so rich and did not want to let go off his wealth.

Actually, this is not only the problem of the youth but also of adults. There is unending inflation of worldly wants and desires which in the process corrupts one’s spiritual health. In this age of free trade and consumerism the need to constantly challenge ourselves to re-channel a part of our material wealth towards spiritual ones is in order. (Fr. Eugene Docoy, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


We are not prepared to give everything to Jesus, yet we are ultimately asking everything from him. Surely if we wish to have life, then we should be prepared to give our life in return. If we give everything to Jesus, Jesus will give everything to us! Jesus hints at this when he says: “…and you will have treasure in heaven.”

But does Jesus give everything to us only in heaven? No! part of the reward for following Jesus comes back to us in this life. When we opt to follow Jesus we already experience a foretaste of the joy that we will have with Jesus in heaven. Ask any religious!

When I knew I was being called to follow Christ as a religious and as a missionary I had a good job as a high school teacher, with involvement in the Red Cross and much satisfaction in all that I was doing. I went away grieving from my former lifestyle because I felt the pull perhaps not so much of many possessions – we were not rich but of my family, work and all the friends I was leaving behind. My SVD confreres had been very understanding and allowed me the time to grow into my vocation, turning towards new work and new friends. This growth is still in progress. My grief is still in the process of turning into joy.

Once an elderly priest told me, “When you go away to be a priest you lose a lot of friends…but you make a million more!” this is very true; some loss and much gain care vital elements of vocation for all who opt to follow Christ more completely, be they priests, brothers, sisters  or committed lay people. I wish the young man had seen this more clearly! (Fr. Alan Meechan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


Jesus’ call of the rich young man in today’s gospel is often cited in conferences and talks to young Catholics during vocation campaigns. The original story is a call to become a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Jesus promises happiness to everyone who follows Him.

What does happiness mean to you? If you do not know, then He says to you: “Come and see! Join me. Be with me and find out! Make me your top priority and get detach from your wealth and everyone else.” Unfortunately our rich young man in this story could not do that.

In baptism we opted to follow Jesus. If you were baptized as a baby, someone else made your baptismal promises for you. We call him/her your godparent. As you grew, those promises should have become your own. Congratulations if you did and still doing it. Most Catholic Filipinos do not consciously do it. These are the nominal Catholics in this only Catholic country in Asia.

Am I one of these? Pause and reflect awhile. Did  You are if you only act like a Catholic on Sundays at Mass and from Monday to Saturday you move around a self-centered person and could not care less of what is happening to people around you. To live a truly catholic life every minute of the day is our goal to be truly happy. This is only possible if we let the Holy Spirit change us as He did with the apostles on Pentecost Sunday. (Fr. Flor Camacho, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


In order for a student in the primary level (Gr. 1-8) to graduate from a school run by the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), the educational body that owns and administers al Catholic schools in the primary level in Ontario, Canada, he/she must render a 10-hour community service spread out through the school year in Grade 8 in Grade 8. A high school student is required as well to perform 40 hours of community service in the secondary level (Gr. 9-12) in all schools (public, private and TCDSB) before he/she graduates. The aim of this requirement is to inculcate in all students the value of helping the community, to be more caring and to be generous with one’s talents and treasure especially to those most in need. This is an example of an institutionalized way of forming the citizens how to become caring individuals as no less than the government supports it.

It is this context that would help us realize the gospel message today – that we must let go of our individualistic predisposition and become more concerned of others, that we must let go of our accumulative tendencies and become more generous. We should never forget that to be excessively possessive is often accompanied by greed and avarice, although having less does not necessarily mean that one is freely predisposed to God (John Sheila Galligan).

To go back to the question posed by the rich young man to Jesus in today’s gospel, to gain eternal life, one does not need to live a “perfect life” but living the “perfectly focused” life (Jerry Goebel). As followers of Christ, the focus should always be about caring for neighbour as well as for our self. We are foremost a community of people who are linked by our common humanity and as such, must share responsibility for the care and welfare of others. Interdependence and not independence is the key to our relationship with one another. The wisdom imparted in the following African proverb says it so well, “It takes a whole village to raise and educate a child.” (Fr. Joey Miras, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


The gospel touches two very important and relevant topics: the way to eternal life and the danger of riches.

A young man asks Jesus what to do in order to gain eternal life, manifesting his deep yearning for God. Jesus reminds him of the commandments that deal with human relationship: do not kill, do no commit adultery, do not steal, do not falsely swear, do not defraud, honor your father and mother. Notice that Jesus does not mention the first three commandments that define the relationship with God.

For Jesus, relationship with others defines our way to God. Therefore, the closest way to find God is through love of neighbor.

The young man claims to know and observe these commandments. But seemingly he does not yet fully understand the love of God and love of neighbour are inseparable – one and the same commandment.

It is not enough to be a Christian. We need to “sell everything: that prevents us to obtain the greatest treasure – love for God and neighbour.

Jesus looks tenderly at the young man and gives him a new task – “to sell what he has and give to the poor.”  The young man goes away sad because he has put his life in the service of things rather than in the service of others.

El que no vive para servir, no sirve para vivir.” (He who doesn’t live to serve, diesnt deserve to live.) – Fr. Jess Briones SVD, Bible Diary 2015


The Rich Young Man

Aidan Nichols O.P.

12 October 2003

Twenty-Eighth Sunday of the Year (B)

fr. Aidan Nichols preaches on the man who had kept all the commandments and whom Jesus loved.

Today’s is one of those Gospel readings that show you what a Gospel is for, why the Gospels are there at all. Jesus’ encounters with other people are not just told because they happened. They’re told because they put us on the spot. We’re brought face to face with the challenge of Jesus and have to come up with a response.

Take this incident of the rich young man. This young man comes up to Jesus. He’s a good, solid, upright, well-instructed, devout young Jew, a fine specimen of Jewish humanity. That’s clear from the conversation with Jesus.

Jesus reminds him of the Ten Commandments which then, as now, were the bases of a good life. The young man replies very simply: these he has kept from his earliest youth. Not a boast. Just stating a straightforward matter of fact.

There’s no suggestion that Jesus either disbelieves or disapproves of what he says or the way he says it. Quite the contrary.

He looked steadily at him and loved him.

Loved him for his uncomplicated integrity, his sheer basic goodness.

But this goodness is not enough.

There is one thing you lack.

Here comes the bombshell.

Go, sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, and follow me.

Being good is not a sufficient condition for being a disciple of Jesus. Indeed, in the first place it’s not even a necessary condition. There’s something even more fundamental than goodness — so it turns out — and without this ‘something’ that’s even more basic than goodness, you can’t even get started on the journey to the Kingdom Jesus proclaimed.

Whatever can it be? It’s the recognition of the falseness of our claim to be rich, to have all we need. We can be as good as we like, but if we think we’re sufficient unto ourselves, then the God Jesus proclaimed is shut out of our lives.

In the case of the rich young man, it was literal riches – cash, property — that filled in the emptiness that should have been there. In our case, it may be another kind of riches. It may be intellectual riches, it may be emotional riches.

In each case we make a false claim to be able to cope with anything in life — to buy our way out of situations, to talk our way out of situations, or to charm our way out of situations. And this is what has to be cleared away before we can become disciples.

The Kingdom is the reign of a God who is Love: who is unconditional, overflowing, complete and utter generosity. A God who by his own nature keeps giving himself away, as the doctrine of the Trinity reminds us. A God who would lavish himself on us.

We know from experience that to admit our need of love from anyone is a humbling experience. It is humiliating actually to feel sick because the signs are that X or Y has ceased to love me. Humiliating because it entails recognising my need, my not being sufficient unto myself.

Along with that recognition must come the knowledge that if my happiness depends on something or someone outside me, over which or whom I have no control, then I may never be happy. And then what a crowd of demons jump out of Pandora’s box! It’s easier to stick with the idea of being rich or clever of good-looking or nice and leave it at that.

The revelation of an all-loving God means we can’t just leave it at that. We could be so much greater, bigger than we are, because the divine Lover is dying to make us so. The crucifixion was the final appeal to us to start to live from this love, but God’s wanting had been going on the whole time.

The question for us is: What are we going to do about it? Shall we change the orientation and tenor of our lives? Or shall we say it’s all a bit too risky? Shall we go away like the rich young man? Sorrowfully, of course. But go away all the same.

fr Aidan Nichols, a well-known writer and theologian, is John Paul II Visiting Lecturer at the University of Oxford.


Mark 10:17-31

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

vs 17 Why do you think the man came running? Have you asked the question that the man asked?

This verse tells us Jesus was going out on the road – in other words, he was getting ready to leave. The young man came running before he missed him. He had an important question for Jesus. Notice this young ruler’s attitude. He wanted to do what was right, he came to Jesus for the answers, and he came running – he was eager and anxious for an answer. This is a remarkable young man. Do we come eager and running to Jesus, or do we have to force ourselves into prayer time or drag ourselves to church? This man had no such problems. He was eager to learn from Jesus.

The question that he asked is, “what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life.” I think this is a normal way to ask this question, and we probably have asked the same question ourselves. But right from the start we discover that he doesn’t understand the things of God at all. His focus is on his own actions when he asks, “What must I do?”

Many believers are trying to live their Christian life by finding out what good things they can do. They think the more good things they do, the more God will love them. This is what the young ruler thought. He thought he was a pretty good person, but in case he had neglected doing anything, he wanted to find out what else he could do to earn God’s favor. But as Jesus indicates in the next verse, there’s nothing inside of man that he can do – he’s not good enough.

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone.
19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ “

vs 18-19 Why did Jesus ask his question about being called good? What commandments is Jesus quoting from? Which ones did he leave out? Why do you think he left some out?

Many commentators point out that Jesus is here trying to help the young ruler realize that He is God. This may be true, but it’s not necessarily the meaning here. When dealing with different people, Jesus often skips over many matters and immediately goes to the condition of the person’s heart. This is what I think he is doing. As we will see in the next few verses, this man believes that he is a good person. This is why he asks, what shall I do. He thinks whatever hard task Jesus might pick out for him he is fully capable to accomplish it in his own strength. The point Jesus is trying to make here is that no one is good enough – only God.

We sometimes fall into the same kind of thinking. We figure that if we go to church, and pay our tithes, and treat everybody with kindness, God has to send us to heaven. But we simply aren’t good enough. This young man was about to learn this lesson.

Jesus is here quoting from the Ten Commandments. He actually lists 6 of them.

Do not commit adultery.
Do not murder.
Do not steal.
Do not bear false witness – don’t lie.
Do not defraud.
Honor your father and your mother.


I find it interesting that Jesus only mentions the commandments about dealing with thers. Perhaps he understood that the man needed to focus on these areas.

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

vs 20-21 What kind of man was this? What three things did Christ ask the man to do? What has God asked you to do?

Now this young man is a remarkable fellow. I believe that he was very meticulous in keeping all of the commandments in the Bible. He did his best and he genuinely believed that he had succeeded. He believed he was a good person worthy of eternal life. Apparently this young man also impressed the disciples because after Jesus had said in verse 23 how hard it was for the rich to be saved, the disciples were astonished in verse 26 and asked, “Who then can be saved?” This rich young ruler must have been an impressive individual. Yet as Charnock observes, “…he had not any full satisfaction in his own conscience; his heart misgave, and started upon some sentiments in him, that something else was required, and what he had done might be too weak….”

Jesus tells the young ruler to do three things: give up everything, come, and follow him. The man did not listen to the advice from Christ. Are we going to listen? Here is what he is saying to us.

First, give up everything that will hinder you from serving Christ. Sell it all; get rid of it. Whatever it is, we have to let it go. What is it that you are hanging onto? Pride, possessions, alcohol, drugs, immorality, parties, friends? Let go of it if it prevents you from serving Christ. Notice Peter in verse 28 says, “We have left all and followed you.” If we want to serve Jesus, we must be willing to leave it all to follow him.

Second, Jesus said “come.” We must come to him. There is no other way to please God – we must come to Jesus.

Third, Jesus says “follow me.” That’s what we must do: follow Jesus; walk in his ways; allow him to lead us and guide us. We must not strive to go our own way, but rather learn how to follow him. His way is the much better way. Sometimes we think our way looks pretty good, but we need to follow Jesus because his way is always better.

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

vs 22 Why do you think Jesus asked him to do this? What would be hard for you to give up?

What happened to the eagerness and self-sufficiency of this rich young ruler? It all collapses because he is not willing to obey Jesus. Notice this man did everything else that was expected of him. And yet, as far as we know, he never did accept the Lord. What was the one thing that hindered him? It was sin. You see, sin is not the long list of bad things that we are capable of doing. Sin is simply disobeying God. Having riches or possessions, by itself, is not a sin. Many biblical figures had great wealth. But with the rich young ruler, riches had become his god. Jesus asked this man to do only one thing, but he refused to obey.

Jesus could have told the young man, as he did others, that not only could he not commit adultery, but he also can’t even lust after a woman in his heart. Or he could have said, as he did on another occasion, that not only should the young man not murder, but he also must not become angry with his brother. But Jesus didn’t say these things to the rich ruler. He only asked one thing of him. But the young man was not willing to give up the one thing Jesus required.

What is the one thing that is hindering you from serving God? It may not be a bad thing. It may even be a good thing. Are you willing to give it up for the Lord? If not, then it is sin in your life. But if you are willing to give it up, Jesus will then give you his cross of forgiveness to take its place. You will suddenly sense his cleansing power sweeping through your whole being. There are many ugly, awful, filthy areas in our life, but Jesus cleans them all. Jesus doesn’t say we will be perfect. He only says, “follow me.”

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

vs 23-25 What do you think Jesus’ words mean? Why would it be harder for a rich person to sell everything he owns? What was the rich man’s real problem?

When we are in love with material possessions, it is difficult for us to keep our focus on God. When we are helpless, it is easy to look to God for help. But when we are filled with resources, ability, security, and pride, it is difficult to turn to God for help. We believe we can handle things ourselves.

Notice that the rich man’s problem was not that he had great possessions. His real problem was that these riches had become his god. They were more important to him than serving Christ.

26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

vs 26-27 Why did the disciples respond the way they did? What do you think Jesus’ words in verse 27 tell us about our salvation?

Some of the disciples had been partners in a fishing business. Although they may not have been rich, they certainly understood the value of money. They understood that when we obey God, often he does bless us in many ways, sometimes even financially. This is why they asked, “Who then can be saved?” They missed Christ’s point about placing other things ahead of serving God. But the fact is that none of us in our own strength can choose to serve God. It is God who gives us the desire to let go of those things that hinder us from serving him. Some, however, are unwilling to let go of their idols, their gods, their passions, their possessions.

28 Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.”

vs 28-30 Do these verses promise wealth or prosperity? What kind of things do we receive when we follow Christ? What have you received from God?

From verse 28 we see that the disciples had no problem leaving all to follow Christ. They were ready to make the choice that the rich young man was not willing to do. Some people like to use these verses to indicate that God will bless us with material possessions. But obviously, this whole section is dealing with how material possessions hinder our walk with God. Rather, it’s better to look at these verses as telling us that God will bless us spiritually. Jesus and Paul never had a home of their own, but God provided them living quarters wherever they went. Paul was often in need of financial resources, but God provided jobs and gifts periodically to help him through. Perhaps our natural brothers and sisters live far away from us, but God has given us brothers and sisters in Christ in our local church. Even among the blessings, notice that Jesus says we may also have persecutions.

31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

vs 31 What does verse 31 mean to you? In the church, how should the “first” be “last”? Why do you think some Christians strive to be “first”? In what areas do you need to work on to be “last”?

Perhaps in the disciples’ minds, they considered the wealthy to be superior in many ways. This tends to be the attitude of our modern American culture. We want more and more things, newer cars, and larger homes so that people will know we have “arrived.” But Christians should not adopt the attitudes of the world. We need to be willing to accept humble surroundings and meager resources. In order to be first in the eyes of God, we need to be willing to be last in the eyes of the world. God sometimes blesses Christians with material goods and finances. There is no piety in poverty. However, we must be willing to sacrifice all for Jesus. When we do this we will discover true joy and blessing.


This study on Mark 10:17-31 © 1999 by David Humpal, all rights reserved.
All scriptures unless otherwise noted are from the New International Version © 1971, Zondervan Bible Publishers

Charnock: The Existence and Attributes of God, vol. II, pg. 212 Baker Book House


A true disciple of Jesus must possess at least three characteristics proper to his Christian identity:

Singleness of purpose

Undivided heart

Persevering spirit

This is the reason why in today’s Gospel narrative Jesus after demanding from the rich young man to keep the Ten Commandments adds, “If you wish to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me”  (Mt 19:21).

Simply said, what Jesus demands from the rich young man in order to receive eternal life and enter into heaven are the following:

Observance of the Ten Commandments. “Whoever fulfills and teaches these commandments shall be great in the kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:19). Our Lord’s teaching is that the way to attain eternal life is through faithful fulfillment of the Law of God. The Ten Commandments, which God gave Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1-17), express the natural law in a clear and concrete way. It is part of Christian teaching that the natural law exists, that it is a participation by rational creatures in the Eternal Law and that it is impressed on the conscience of every man when he is created by God (cf. Leo XIII, “Libertas Praestantissimum”). Obviously, therefore, the natural law, expressed in the Ten Commandments, cannot change or become outdated, for it is not dependent on man’s will or on changing circumstances.

Detachment from possessions and relations. “The precept of detachment from riches is obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven” (CCC 2544).

Love of preference for the poor and the needy. You may have heard of the blessings Jesus spoke of in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-10). Here’s a “blessing” from the Old Testament that is less well-known: “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble” (Psalm 41:1). The Hebrew word translated “considers” means “to take thought for others”. The word translated “poor” means “those in need”.

Trusting faith in the providence of God. Abandonment to the  providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow” (CCC 2547).

Desire for heaven which is “the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC 1024). Desire for true happiness frees man from his immoderate attachment to the goods of this world so that he can find his fulfillment in the vision and beatitude of God” (CCC 2548-2549).

To sum up, Jesus challenges the Rich Young Ruler to sell everything and to give it to the poor as a precondition of discipleship, receiving  eternal life and entering into the Kingdom of God. Hence “…to become a disciple means ceasing to find the basis for one’s life in earthly things and finding the basis for life in God alone.” (Borg, 75). “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Mt 6:33).



PRIDE (Mt 19:16-22): It would seem that the basic mistake of the young man in the Gospel was that he was greedy. He was very preoccupied with material possessions. But actually, all the commentaries on this gospel text agree that the basic flaw of the young man was not that he was greedy but that he was not humble.

He was not humble enough to recognize that whatever gift, whether material or spiritual, comes from God. He was not humble enough to recognize that it was not he who made himself rich, but God’s goodness to him. He was not humble enough to recognize that it was not his own effort but the goodness and effort of God that brought him to his status of wealth. He was humble enough and so he went away.

This was not greed. This was pride. Pride, because he wanted to tell himself, “This is mine, why should I sell this? I worked for this, I did not steal, why should I sell this?” he took pride in his accomplishments and he forgot that it was God who helped him in his achievements.

The First Commandment exhorts us to love God and therefore not to worship any false god. the young man in the gospel evidently went against this commandment because although he was not worshipping a molten idol, he was actually worshipping an idol called ‘money.’

This brings me to another point. Our non-Catholic brethren are so angry with images of the Blessed Mother, the images of the saints that we have. They say these are a violation of the First Commandment because they are molten images. My dear brothers and sisters, if we agree on their premise and destroy all images, will this mean that we do not violate the first commandment?

We will still violate this first commandment because without those images people still bow down and worship before a god called money. People still worship idols called sex and pleasure.

Maybe we can destroy all images but that will not make us obedient to the commandment because we will still be prone worshipping false idols: the god of so-called national security, the god of so-called economic prosperity, the god of so-called political stability. We continue to bow down before such gods.

We should be reminded and we should tell our countrymen and the whole Philippines that we will not bow down before America, we will not kneel down before economic prosperity; we will only kneel down before God. We will only kneel down before God, not before any creature, not before money, not before prestige, not even before our own prosperity.

We will only bow down before God because that is how it should be. If we are truly a Catholic nation, we must only bow down before God.

Let us pray for each other, that we may realize that our idols – money, prosperity, people, political stability – are nothing and are not worthy of worship. Let us crush all these idols which only lead us to pride.  Let us only kneel before God and God alone. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus, pp. 128-129)


ATTACHEMENT…..DETACHMENT (Mt 19:21): All of us are here because we all want to go to heaven. And all of us are here because we believe that, hopefully, our going to Mass can pave our way to heaven.

Once there was a man who didn’t know whether he wanted to go to hell or to heaven. He was a very pragmatic person. He wanted to know what hell was and what heaven was because he didn’t like to be deceived. He kept on praying to God to show him hell and heaven so he could decide where to go.

Finally, God answered him and showed him hell. Satan welcomed him and honoured his guest with a big banquet. God showed him heaven and also tendered a banquet for him. After the two visits, the man decided that, with all the enjoyment from sin he can have on earth, and since he did not perceive any big difference between heaven and hell, he preferred hell. So he committed all kinds of sins, left and right.

When he died, he went to hell as expected. As soon as he entered hell, Satan yelled at him and put a chain around his neck and arm and tied a huge metal ball to his feet. The man asked Satan, “Why are you doing this to me? The first time I came you were all kind and gentle and you welcomed me with a banquet.” Satan answered, “The first time you were here, you were a tourist, now you are an immigrant.”

We are tourists, but not simple tourists, we are pilgrims. We are always on the go. We don’t belong to this earth.

That is why the Lord tells us that we should not enjoy life excessively because we might forget that we are transients here.

We all desire to possess but let us not allow ourselves to be possessed by our own possessions. There is that desire in us to amass wealth, to gain power, to make ourselves popular. However, an excess popularity, an excess of wealth can make us forget that we are only tourists here on earth, but we are called to be immigrants in heaven.

All of us have experienced thirst. When you are thirsty, you drink water. If you have never tried it, try to drink salt water when you are thirsty. No matter how much you drink, you will still feel thirsty because salt water is not intended to quench our thirst. That is the same with material possession.

We are all inclined to possess. We want people to appreciate us. We want people to applaud us. We want to be wealthy, we want to be comfortable. But all these are like salt water – the more you drink it, the thirstier you become. The first acquisition will merely be the start of an endless pursuit.

The Lord is telling us, “When you are thirsty, do not look for salt water, look for the living water. Look for me, and then you will find that your thirst has been assuaged. Then, you will discover that you are only transients here, that your real home is heaven.”

My dear brothers and sisters, during this Mass we will pray for a spirit of detachment – a spirit of real detachment. So we can always keep in mind we are only temporary residents here. We are not immigrants, we are citizens not of earth but of heaven. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus, pp. 144-145)


IMMATURITY (Mt 19:22): The story of the man who approached the Lord to ask what it takes to gain eternal life is in the gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

But it is only the gospel of St. Matthew, which i just read to you, that specifies that the man was young. Mark and Luke did not mention his age at all. It was only Matthew who specified that he was young.

Why did Matthew specify the man was young? Because in this case, being young was not a blessing or something to be proud of.  For Matthew, to be young is to be immature. To be young is to be myopic. To be young is to have very narrow judgment. That is what the young man was. He was narrow-minded and myopic.

What were the signs that he was indeed immature? First,  he was too conscious about what he was doing. When he was asked to obey the commandments, he said: “I have obeyed all of them.”

The mature person does not allow the right hand to know what the left hand is doing if that does not sound familiar to you, perhaps this will. You ask, “What must I do to have peace?” Then you get the advice, “You go to confession.” Then you retort by saying, “But why I should confess? I have no sins.”

If we are too conscious of the good that we do, if we are too conscious of the sins we avoid, that itself is a limitation. This is what made the young man really immature.

The second sign of immaturity in the rich young man was that he only saw selling his possessions as an act of sacrifice. It was a painful thing to do.

A sign of immaturity is when a children cry when they have to let go of a toy or when they have to let of food.

The mature Christian looks at letting go as an opportunity to gain Christ. The mature Christian looks at selling all you have not as a sacrifice, but as an opportunity to follow Christ more completely.

Brothers and sisters, are you young? Or can we say have we matured? If you are so quick to say you are mature, you are immature. The first sign of somebody who is mature is the recognition that he is not. (Socrates Villegas, SVD Jesus Loves You, pp.243-244)


The role of the young: twice in today’s gospel, Matthew describes the person who came to Jesus as a “young man.” The young man in the gospel is very much like the young of today: he has questions, and he questions certain values and idealism in life. His question about attaining eternal life mirrors idealism.

The young man, however, is also quite different compared to the young of today: his idealism involves spiritual life. Today’s young, in turn, are often idealistic about success here and now, in family life, in business prospects, in political and social ethics.

Let us thank the Lord for the young people in our midst. Their questions jolt us and make us reflect; their concern for idealism and virtues make us ride above our too pragmatic minds. Let us also pray that our young people today may continue to dream dreams, not just for this ephemeral life, bout also for eternal life. May their idealism include spirituality! (Fr Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday p. 250)


Some Pointers about Spirituality:


In speaking about the way to heaven, Jesus the Master referred to what we commonly term as “Spirituality.” From his words, we can glean the following general lines about authentic Christian Spirituality:

  • Spirituality is using the “ordinary” as a way to holiness. The young man expected Jesus to reveal some novel and extraordinary means to attain eternal life. Jesus simply said: ‘Obey the commandments.’
  • Spirituality is living one’s faith in a wholistic way. The young man, frustrated at the ordinary answer of Jesus regarding attaining eternity, went further: “Which of the commandments?” Jesus went on to enumerate not one, but all the commandments.
  • Spirituality means lifetime perseverance. The young man commented that he had been observing all the commandments since he was young. This is spiritual life – we go on and on with the disciplines. We can never claim a certain point when we have graduated from any of these spiritual disciplines.
  • Spirituality’s measurable fruit is growth in charity and simplicity. Jesus, in the end, said that if the young man wanted to be perfect, he should go sell his many possessions, and give to the poor. (Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday 251)


The Way to Heaven: The young man’s inquiry reflected a certain impatience. He seemed to be looking for answer that would neatly outline a sure “shortcut menu” to heaven. Jesus’ answer stressed that:

  • Heaven has ho shortcut. We must build our spiritual life on the basics.
  • Heaven has no hidden path. Against Gnostics who felt there should be some secret knowledge that would unlock heaven, Jesus speaks about what is public revelation: The Ten Commandments.
  • Heaven is not so much gained by accumulating merits, but by a process of self-effacement. We must be detached even from good possessions. Or only claim to heaven is God’s graciousness, not any merit on our part. (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday pp. 250-251)


v. 20: “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” our efforts alone can never satisfy us. But it’s good to seek for more, for better and greater things, to strive for perfection. Seek God as the only one who can fill what is lacking in us. He alone is our salvation (Fr. Ching OP).


Three Stages of Salvation:

  1. I have been saved (past) by Jesus Himself
  2. I am saved (present) – doing good works (letter of St. James
  3. I will be saved (future) – “Those who will persevere until the end will be saved.”


DON’T BREAK IT! Do you collect anything?

I collect green bottles of all shapes and sizes. I have a hundred of them now. I should have more but…..

When my children were young, I told them to be very careful with my bottles. They were. They knew how much I treasured my collection. But one day, we had a party with about 20 children – ages two to eight. They were all over the place having fun. Then I heard CRRRRAASH! On the floor were some of my bottles broken to pieces.

Sudden hush. The children froze, their faces white with fear. My husband came to the rescue. “Those were only bottles, kids. Continue having fun!”

“Only bottles?!” she thought.

But the smile that came on the children’s faces melted my heart. I realized that people are more important than things. From then on, I stopped fussing over my bottles.

Jesus said, “We must store up treasures in heaven,” (Mt. 6:21) not on earth. If you have a collection (of dolls, coins, key chains, etc.), don’t let it get in the way of more important things like being kind to others and telling them about Jesus. (Grace D. Chong, What’s for Breakfast? One-Year daily Devotions for Children vol. 1 2004:February 4)



MONDAY OF THE 20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – MATEO 19:16-22. Unsa may angay natong buhaton aron maangkon ang kinabuhing dayon? Kining maong pangutana importante kaayo ug angay lamang nga ang tubag niini masayran sa kada tawo. Diha sa ebanghelyo gipasabot ni Jesus sa batan-ong lalaki nga ang pagsunod sa mga kasugoan sa Dios kinahanglan atong buhaton aron ang kaluwasan maangkon. Pinaagi niini, atong mapakita nga kita nagtahod sa Makagagahum nga Dios. Apan dili lang kini mao. Ang atong pagsunod sa mga kasugoan kinahanglang nga pagaubanan usab og kasingkasing nga andam mobiya sa tanan aron sa pag-alagad sa Dios ug sa mga kabos. Sa pagbuhat sa ingon, atong mapadayag nga kita dili kalibotanon, dili ulipon sa bahandi, ug nga ang Gingharian sa Dios mao gyod ang atong kanunay’ng gitinguha nga maangkon. Posted by Abet Uy


Sunday, August 16, 2015

MONDAY OF THE 20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 19:16-22. UNSA MAY ANGAY NATONG BUHATON ARON MAANGKON ANG KINABUHING DAYON? Kining maong pangutana importante kaayo ug angay nga ang tubag niini masayran sa kada tawo. Diha sa ebanghelyo gipasabot ni Hesus sa batan-ong lalaki nga ang pagsunod sa mga kasugoan sa Dios kinahanglang buhaton aron maangkon ang kaluwasan. Pinaagi niini, atong mapakita nga kita adunay dakong pagtahod sa Dios nga maoy manulonda sa Balaod. Apan dili lang kini mao. Ang pagsunod sa mga kasugoan kinahanglan nga atong ubanan og kasingkasing nga andam mobiya sa tanan aron sa pag-alagad sa Dios ug sa mga kabos. Pinaagi niini, atong mapadayag nga kita dili ulipon sa bahandi, ug nga ang Gingharian sa Dios mao gayod ang atong ginamithi. Nindot ang giingon: “When we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough.” Posted by Abet Uy


Reflection for Monday August 18, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 19:16-22 – Reflection: So near and yet so far, perhaps this was the predicament of the man who asked Jesus on what must he do to have eternal life. He already did everything that was asked of him until Jesus told him to sell everything in his pessession and give the proceeds to the poor then follow Him. The man quietly walked away for the reason that he couldn’t let go of his many earthly possession.

Somehow this man represents all of us we who find it very hard to let go of our earthly possession in favor of helping others and the kingdom of God. What is with wealth that we cannot let go? We cannot bring it to our graves we cannot even possess it anymore when we are already old for someone will possess it for us or even hide it from us.

Saint Francis of Asisi was from a noble and rich family he gave-up everything to the poor so that he could follow God’s will for him.  God’s will for us also is to give-up our riches so that others may live from it. This is very hard to do that requires radical change of mindset for us to fully embrace it.

Perhaps if we are not willing to give-up everything because we also have our own family to feed and take care of. We can give something for the poor  because it’s only through giving-up of something that we treasure in this world that we could follow Jesus.

Are we like the young man in our gospel who walked away from Jesus because he had many possessions? Or we are like Saint Francis of Asisi who gave-up everything to the poor so that he could follow God’s will for him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


GOD, WHY AM I RICH? Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor…” — Matthew 19:21

At 25, Dylan Wilk became the ninth richest man under 30 in the United Kingdom. He owned one of the largest mail-order computer games businesses in the UK. When he sold the business, he got £2.6 million in cash, and five percent of the enlarged company which valued his shares at £16 million. One night, rich but feeling empty, he asked, “God, why am I rich?” In 2003, Dylan sold his BMW and gave all the proceeds to build a Gawad Kalinga community to provide homes for 80 families in the Philippines. “I learned to know the difference between pleasure and happiness,” he said.

In the Gospel today, Jesus invited the rich young man to sell his possessions and give it to the poor. Unlike Dylan, he went away sad because he couldn’t part with his wealth even if it only gave him temporary pleasures. But today, the Lord is building a new breed of millionaires who choose to use their wealth for God’s purposes.

Like Dylan, let us use our financial resources to help us live out Jesus’ command to love our neighbor and build up His Church. Marjorie Ann Duterte (

Reflection: God made us rich to love the poor. Can we detach from our wealth when we are called to share and give it to those who need it the most?

Lord, help us to be good stewards of the resources You have entrusted to us. May we use them wisely for the building of Your Kingdom and to serve our brothers and sisters. In Jesus’ name, we pray.


1ST READING – The final line of today’s First Reading is quite scary. Ezekiel tells the people that they will rot in their sins — the time for mourning and weeping, that is conversion, has passed and now the consequences of sin, the tragedy of exile and the destruction of Jewish society is at hand. The consequences of sin are horrible, something society is beginning to realize once again as it confronts all the issues associated with permissiveness and the breakup of the family unit. Selfishness and the obsession with pleasure are wreaking havoc among the youth, to the point where many live totally destructive and irresponsible lives. Ezekiel 24:15-23

GOSPEL – A holy life is not simply about avoiding sin — it is much more than that. Living a holy life is about actively pursuing conversion of heart and mind to the will of God. The young man is halfway to this goal. He may not be a big sinner, but he is that unwilling to surrender his life to the will of God. The text indicates that his greater focus is the pursuit of material things and wealth. Matthew 19:16-22

think:  Living a holy life is about actively pursuing conversion of heart and mind to the will of God. \


HE WENT AWAY SORROWFUL – The story of the rich young man in the Gospel offers many angles for reflection. Jesus’ reply to the question of what the young man must do to attain eternal life is masterful. Jesus challenges the young man to let go of his control over his life, surrender it to God, and let Him direct his life. Selling all his earthly goods will allow him to do that. Oftentimes, our attachment to the things of this world holds us back from greatness or holiness. None of the saints were attached to the pleasures of life. They were content to allow God to control their lives and let Him be their Master.

The situation of the rich young man is probably true for most of us. If we are honest with ourselves, we enjoy many things in this world and we all try to maximize them in our lives. Is there anything wrong with such an attitude? Not in essence. However, for a disciple of Jesus, there is more to life than the pleasures of this world. Fixing our gaze on the rewards and promises of eternal life ought to govern our decisions here.

It takes a person of great faith to let go of the pleasures of the world the way Jesus demands if holiness is our goal. Of course, there is a lesser discipleship that makes us conform to a minimalist understanding of the call of faith by avoiding sin and involving ourselves in the ministry and mission of the Church. A disciple truly gives his faith the primary focus in his life. He wants his entire life given to the service of the Kingdom of God. This is what the lives of the saints are all about. They are not interested in giving the minimum. Only the maximum will do.

Let us pray that we will capture the enthusiasm of the saints as we follow Jesus and give our lives to the service of His Kingdom. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Which of your attachments can you easily let go? Do it now.

Jesus, help me to let go of my attachments to the world and the pleasures of this life, not because they are wrong or bad, but because I want my life to speak unequivocally of the values of Your Kingdom.


TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART – “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” – Matthew 19:20

She is one of the most generous persons you’ll ever know. She regularly goes to Mass and is prayerful. She’s a good boss to her staff. She’s a good mom to her kids and a good wife to her husband. She takes good care of her parents and provides for all their needs. She’ll always be there if you need her.

She regularly goes to a fortune teller for all her major decisions, especially those which involve her business. She owes her success to her fortune teller and thanks God for her blessings. Even if she knows that going to a fortune teller is against the teachings of the Church, she justifies it by saying that she is able to help a lot of people with the money she gets from the successful advice of the fortune teller.

Just like the rich young man, she thinks that she’s doing good because she keeps all the commandments of God. What she doesn’t realize is that her heart relies not on God. God doesn’t look at the externals — if we give generously or we go on television to give Him the glory for all our blessings. He looks at our heart. At the end of our life, God will see who really sits at the throne of our heart — the Light of Jesus or someone else eclipsing that Light. Ronna Ledesma (

Reflection: Who really rules your life — God or a god?

Abba, forgive me for those times I doubted that You will provide for all my needs.


AM I AN IDOLATER? – What has the story of the rich young man to do with idolatry? Here is theconnection: The second part of the first commandment deals with this problem: “You shall not place other gods (idols) before me.” In other words, whatever replaces God from the center of our lives becomes an idol. Idols are substitutes for God, imposters of God; they placeHim from the first to the second place.

For the rich young man, his wealth was his idol. He is not alone in this. Many of us also have different idols. It must not only be money that Jesus asks us to let go of in the Gospel today. It can be a person or a hobby that we are so attached to that it has become the center of our life, replacing God and His commandments.

A good explanation and clarification comes from the famous sociologist,journalist and popular novelist, Fr. Andrew Greeley, who wrote: “The relative becomes absolute when anything religious — a symbol, a cult, an image, a philosophical system, an ideology, an organization, a legal structure — becomes more important in the practical order than the God these things are supposed to manifest. When the most important reality in my concrete, everyday religious life becomes a statue, a saint, a parish or church organization, my own position… or even a crusade of peace and racial justice, then I have become an idolater. I have taken something that is relative and made it absolute.”

The rich man was asking for the only thing that really counts: to gain eternal life. And yet, he was clinging to something that was far from being eternal: wealth. And so does everything that replaces the eternal God. Wealth, fame, positions, persons are temporal and may even hinder us from reaching out to what is eternal. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What are your idols? What has become more important than God in your life?

Lord, what an eye-opener! Thank You very much. Grant me Your grace and insight to always realize immediately when I put something or somebody as more important than You.



“If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” –Matthew 19:17

All people, including atheists, do what God wants much of the time, but that doesn’t mean all people obey God. Even the most rebellious children often do what their parents want, but that doesn’t mean they’re obeying their parents. Doing the right thing because it benefits us is different than doing the right thing in obedience to the Lord.

The Israelites at the time of the Judges did what God wanted, but didn’t have hearts for obedience. They proved this by their relapse into wicked conduct after each of the judges died (see Jgs 2:19). Similarly, the man in today’s Gospel reading told Jesus that he had kept the commandments (Mt 19:20). However, he did not have a heart for obedience. This explains why he refused to obey Jesus’ command to go, sell his possessions, and give to the poor (Mt 19:21-22).

Are you obeying God or just finding your self-will intersecting with God’s will on some occasions? Is your “obedience” circumstantial, that is, depending on who’s there and what’s the command? Do you have a heart for obedience, a heart for God?

PRAYER: Father, may I obey You because I love You (see Jn 15:10).

PROMISE: “You will then have treasure in heaven. Afterward, come back and follow Me.” –Mt 19:21

PRAISE: After confessing resentment toward her husband, Judy felt God’s presence in a new way and she looked for ways to greater serve her spouse’s needs.


August 17, 2015

Monday of 20th Week in the Ordinary Time

Judges 2:11-19, Mt 19:16-22


Achilles heel, based on Greek mythological character Achilles, is a weakness in spite of overall strength which can actually or potentially lead to a downfall. The rich man was following all the rules and he had made himself worthy of eternal life. But due to his attachment to the wealth he could not have the perfection in his life. The attachment to wealth became his ‘Achilles heel.’

Jesus does not say that one has to be perfect in order to follow Jesus, but one must have perfect desire to follow Jesus. He or she can not to afford to have desire divided between wealth and Jesus.

In following Jesus we each one must find our own Achilles heel. For a preacher of word of God, this Achilles heel could be an inordinate attachment to wealth. It will destroy him or her eventually. A politician may have Achilles heel in craziness for power. And for some it could be attraction for sex, food etc. St. Paul even after being lifted up to the third heaven (2 Cor 12:2) was afflicted with ‘Achilles heel’ in the form of a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7).

As every Christian is called to follow the Master, let us reflect and see that if there is any Achilles heel left in my life. Jesus says to the Rich man, ‘there is one thing lacking in you.’ And he says to Martha, ‘one thing is necessary.’ FR. JOHNSON BEZALEL CMI


Money Changes Everything

August 17, 2015 (readings)

Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Father José LaBoy, LC

Matthew 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Introductory Prayer: Dear Lord, I believe in you because you know what is best for me and what I must do in order to reach heaven. I hope in you because you have called me to detach myself from worldly things in order to possess you. I love you because you are greater than any of the things you have created.

Petition: Lord, grant me spiritual detachment from material things.

  1. Are You Sure?Sometimes we ask for or desire something without really considering the conditions necessary to obtain it. We understand that most things cannot be obtained for free; nevertheless, in the spiritual life we easily forget this. What the rich young man asks for is the most valuable, the greatest possible achievement, but he thinks getting it will be easy. Maybe he was accustomed to being able to buy whatever he wanted with money. He probably didn’t even think that Christ might tell him to detach himself from his possessions. The fact that we could want something, but not want to do what is necessary to attain it, should raise a question: Do we really want it?
  2. A First Step to Eternity:Christ takes the young man’s question seriously. He doesn’t want to waste the young man’s time allowing him to think things are easier than they really are. Sadly, in today’s society people are used to seeking what requires the least effort. This is not the way of a true Christian. To get to heaven – and everybody should really want to – one thing is totally necessary: “Keep the commandments.” That means to avoid sin. God’s love for us precedes the commandments. When we love someone, we do not treat that person in any old way, but rather in a way that reflects the love we have for that person. So, we keep the commandments not just to follow a moral code, but to show in a specific way our love for God. This step is very important, but it is only a first step to heaven.
  3. Not So Sure:The rich young man had no trouble with living the commandments. Feeling confident, he asks for more, and Christ asks him to leave his possessions. He wasn’t expecting this. He went away sad, because he had many possessions. The problem is not having possessions, but that having many possessions makes us more preoccupied with material things than with “things of above,” as St. Paul would say (see Colossians 3:1). In the Gospel, Jesus says, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, help me to love you above all things. I realize that I am attached to things that sometimes lead me to forget you. And yet, I can’t avoid hearing in the depths of my soul your words: “You cannot serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). Help me understand that it is not worthwhile to have many things, but not have you.

Resolution: I will examine myself to see what commandments I am not living fully and detach myself from some concrete thing that prevents me from doing so.

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See Today’s Readings: Year I,   Year II 

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