In the gospel today of saint Matthew we read about a young man who approaches our Lord and says “what must I do in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?" Our Savior says to the young man that he must keep the Ten Commandments and the man said that he is faithful to the Law of Moses. This man is kind of proud about keeping up with the spiritual precepts, and then he goes on and ask “what else must be done in order to enter the Kingdom and have eternal life.” At this point our Lord says something very powerful “go sell everything you have, give the money to the poor and come follow me.” (Mt. 19:21-22)
If you were there to see what happened when our Lord made this statement to the young man your mouth would have probably dropped open because as the reading says “when the young man heard this saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had many great possessions.” (Mt. 19:22)
In the reading today I see nothing but greed and insincerity and pride. First of all the man shows 'pride' by saying that he keeps all of the Commandments; I feel that he is leading us to believe that he is perfect in the following of God's Law to perfection. I must see this for myself: does he not commit adultery in his heart at times by wanting what someone else has? Is he so perfect that he does not bear false witness about his neighbor by gossip or story telling about things and people when he does not have all the facts? Was he a perfect son to his parents? Was he a giver instead of a taker? [ I really don't think so }
The man gave himself away and how we know that he was not so perfect is because when our Savior told him to sell all he had and give the proceeds to feed the needy he became sad and walked away; the proof about what kind of person he was is right there: he is full of pride by telling our Lord that he is so perfect in keeping the Law of Moses, [ pride ], he does not want to sell his possessions because they are so important to him and they mean more to him than eternal life [ insincere ].
Next and last, he is a very greedy person: he refuses to share his wealth; he become very sad and walks away from our Lord. This young man is one of the most self centered and manipulative people in the gospel readings. Each one of us have bits and pieces of these negative traits like the man in the reading today. Let us examine ourselves, find out were we are falling short in our service to God, and then let us be humble enough to ask for the mercy of God to help us to improve spiritually.
Christ is among us!
Father Paul Bigelow.
Sts Peter and Paul UOC
Saint Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church