At mass today our deacon (Deacon Mike, my favorite deacon) mentioned the parable of the rich young man from the Gospel of Mark. As he mentioned it something struck me. Isn’t it funny how the scriptures can do that? At certain times they just speak to you, sometimes the same verse hits you in different ways. Anyways, here is the parable in case you don’t remember it word for word:
From the Gospel According to Mark:
17As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”18Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?* No one is good but God alone.19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.’”20He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”22At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Here is the picture that came to mind, Jesus is getting ready to leave and a young man came up and knelt before him.
Young Man – Hey, what do I need to do to follow you?
Jesus – Keep the commandments
Young Man – I already do that
Jesus – Oh, I didn’t realize I was dealing with a righteous man. In order to truly follow me you have to give up every thing that you own, for your heart has to truly be dedicated to me and the kingdom
Young Man – Uh, did I mention I keep the commandments?
Lesson 1 – if you ask Jesus what he wants from you he will answer, and you may not like the answer.
Lesson 2 – if the young man would have answered “Ok, I’ll have it all sold in a couple days, where do I meet you then”, what would that have made him? Well, when Jesus told the apostles to give up everything and follow him, they did. Matthew 4:19 – “follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men”. Maybe the rich young man would have been the 13th apostle? What if Jesus asked a man to give up everything in today’s world? What would that man become? One possible answer is a Catholic Priest. Which is why I think the priesthood in the Latin Rite should remain exactly as it is today. Christ asks these men to give up everything to follow him, and only a special individual would give a “yes” to this request. Just ask the rich young man.