Optional Memorial of Saint John Eudes, Priest

I recall with great clarity a homily on today’s gospel passage about the young man with many possessions.  The homily was offered by the Vicar General of my home diocese when I was a high school student, some fifteen years ago.

Monsignor laid it out in simple terms, with a wry sarcasm that a teenage boy or girl could appreciate: This passage was about the bare bones of Christianity … basically, Christianity, at its minimum, is about not being a jerk.

Jesus answered him, …
“If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
[The young man] 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.

Think about it.  It’s not every day that we’re murdering, committing adultery, stealing, lying, dishonoring our parents, and hating our neighbor.  In fact, it’s quite rare, if ever, for most of us I would suspect.  And yet, Christianity is so much more than not murdering … so much more than not being adulterous, not stealing, not lying.

So, if Christianity, at its bare minimum is not being a jerk (and Monsignor’s language was much kinder than what might be used in a Jesuit rec room), then what is it at its “maximum”?  What does it have the potential to be?

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.”

These words of Jesus are challenging enough, without explanation.

Perhaps in a prayerful, quiet space today and over a period of several minutes, we might turn to the Lord and say: Lord, show me the minimum I’ve been doing for you, as you have asked.  And please show me what I’m doing now that’s “more than the minimum.”  And finally, Lord, show me what you want me to do for you in the future, what I ought to do for you and with you.

August 19th, 2013