God in the absolute goodness and the source of all that is good. Our generosity and kindness are nothing compared to His. Only God’s Goodness, which is rooted in His love and concretely manifested in Christ, His Son, can lead us to his eternal dwelling. Thus, eternity is a gift. It is freely offered to all. It’s up to us whether to accept it or not.
The rich young man in the gospel ask Jesus a fundamental question, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” The question is not simple. It is not a question on how to be happy or to be successful or to be rich. Rather, the question is how to “inherit eternal life.” In order for us to “inherit eternal life”, first, we need to consider the following elements from the two readings – the first and the second readings. The two offer us hint how to understand and appreciate the challenge of the Lord to the rich man and also to each one of us.
To reach heaven is like climbing. Going to hell, on the other hand, is like falling. The former requires so much effort to climb while the latter is effortless. Little wonder why it is so difficult to be good and be holy nowadays while it is very easy to commit mistakes or be a bad person. Going to hell is likened to the law of gravity.
We are familiar of Solomon in the Old Testament. The first reading speaks of the most important thing in the life of Solomon. He was known for his love of wisdom, of God’s wisdom. Solomon desired her (wisdom of God) more than the scepter and throne. For the wisdom of God is of great value to Solomon than anything in his kingdom. The rich man in the gospel failed to see the Incarnated Wisdom of God: Jesus. The rich man rather had the lesser value, the earthly treasure, his riches. He preferred to keep his riches instead of choosing the Lord who can surely grant him eternal life. Like the rich man, kadalasan sa buhay natin, mas pinipili natin ang mga bagay na lesser ang value kaysa sa mas higher ang value o halaga. Yet for Solomon, the wisdom of God is more than enough.
The second reading also reminds each of us how effective and alive is the word/wisdom of God-the Spirit of God. It is likened to a two-edged sword that can pierce our heart and our soul. Thus, someone who has a stony heart, like that of the rich man, the word of God seemed to appear powerless. Yet, for the one whose heart is humble and whose spirit is contrite, the word God is truly effective and transformative.
Eternal life is not cheap. Sabi nga, “may mga bagay na bago mo makamit, ay dapat mo munang paghirapan. The same case to eterna life. Yes, eternal life is agift from God. However, for this gift to be ours, we need to accept it. To accept means to beleive to the one who give these gifts to us is the only way to reach eternity: Jesus Christ.
On a journey especially hiking, the lesser the baggage we bring the better and easier the journey would begun. Entering into heaven is like hiking. It is better and easier the climbing when what we bring only is ourselves. And we ask, how could we survive climbing to reach eternity if we don’t bring anything? Well, the challenge of the Lord to the rich man and to us is not so much to give up or leaving anything and eventually starve to death on the way. Rather, whether we truly believe that there is nothing impossible with our God. Following means trusting. And to trust God means to depend and surrender everything to Him. For eternal life is of greater value than anything and everything we are concern of in this life.
To inherit eternal life, therefore is to surrender and leave everything that is earthly, and then, follow the Lord. No strings attached. And while on earth, we have to start living the virtues that are heavenly: faith, hope and love. Let us always remember that eternal life is not cheap. Kailangan ito paghirapan.
— Fr. Edgar Ma. Benedi-an, OSM
Source: Neo Jeremiah Voice of the Young Prophet Newsletter – October 14, 2018 issue.