The good news for the day August 15

Monday of the twentieth Week in Ordinary Time (419)

One time, a young fella approached Jesus and said, “Professor, what good do I have to do to get infinite life?” Jesus answered, “Why are you questioning me—me—about the ‘Good?’ There is only One who is ‘good.’ If you really want to enter into a fresh life, though, just obey the rules.” The young man asked him, “Which rules?” 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, “All of these I have been keeping. What am I missing?” Jesus said, “If you want to do it completely right, go, sell what you own, and give it to poor people, and you will have wealth in the realm of what’s right. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard what Jesus said, he went away depressed; he had many possessions. (Matthew 19)

Read this encounter slowly. Read it again. A picture emerges—like waking up, seeing the world of sight and sound come into focus. Do you yourself hunger to improve—to live more fully, to rid yourself of complications, stress, bad habits, things you complain about, aches of age, loneliness of adolescence, the emptiness so many feel…? Are you the “young man”?

You—and so many of us—are and have been “good people.” You have done your best. You have followed the rules. You obeyed your folks; you did not kill anyone or commit adulteries; you were honest, kind and ordinary—but deep in your heart, you know that a Good is out there.

Can you take what is precious to you and your ego–and free yourself? What walls do you hold onto? Is it a need for security with money? Can you abandon prejudices you know are wrong; stop your indifference, your denials and superiority (“I can do it myself”)? Can you give up what seems important—but is not? Can you listen to your heart—not to rules, but to really look, see—and let God’s world open up to you—free of your ego, fear and avoidance? Can you hear the Good News? Only God is good!

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