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The rich young man




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, reflectionstodaykeep 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.


ONLY ONE WHO IS GOOD. To the rich young man who asks what good he must do to gain eternal life, Jesus replies, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good.” He does not imply that he himself is not good (he is addressed as “Good teacher” in Mk 10:17) or that there are no good men and women. What Jesus means is that God is the ultimate basis of all values, of all goodness. In him and him alone all values have their first source and final completion.

In this sense, the fact that Jesus is “good” and certain persons are “good” bears witness to God. Jesus is good because he essentially shares divine goodness. Men and women are good because they mirror the goodness of God in their lives.

God is good because “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8, 16). Goodness and love are one and the same thing. Jesus challenges the young man to go beyond the observance of the commandments, to take “God and his Kingdom” as the supreme good, as the one that gives full meaning (and hence happiness) to life. Wealth, which is good in itself, may become the center or ultimate goal of life and may replace the One who is good—thus becoming an idol, a rival of God.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail:; Website:


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