Bro. Errol Salcedo
Nowadays, we face the great challenge to discern the truth from falsehood, the real from the fake. It is disturbing that the young and the uninformed are most vulnerable. They are easily deceived and misled. Still, despite this vulnerability, people are still longing for the truth and long-lasting happiness. Ano nga ba ang totoo at tumatagal dito sa mundo? (What is true and eternal in this world?)
When we look back to the gospel and the readings, the rich young man raised this question to Jesus, “What must I do to attain eternal life?” Then, Jesus answered him, “Do you follow the commandments?”
Do not kill;
Do not commit adultery;
Do not steal;
Do not bear false witness;
Do not cheat;
Honor your father and mother.
When he answered “Yes,” Jesus invited him to go and sell everything he has and give it to the poor. But the rich young man was unable to accept the invitation. He could not let go of his wealth, even at the price of letting go of his search for eternal life. He failed to listen to the deeper longings of his heart. He missed the opportunity to find the truth to attain the long-lasting happiness of life. While he may have perfectly followed the Law, he squandered the possibility being offered by Jesus to him to grow beyond his self-imposed limit to grow. He just stopped and left for he failed to understand and accept the truth, and chose the fake security his possessions gave him!
Nevertheless, the gospel did not end with the story of the rich young man but continued to the next episode where Peter raised the concern, “We have given everything to follow you”. It was like saying, we have given up everything we hold dear for this chance of being with the Truth. Then Jesus answered, “No one who has left house, or brothers or sisters, or fathers or mothers, or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive his reward…even in the midst of persecution, one will receive a hundred times as many houses, mothers, fathers, children, and lands in the present time; and in the world to come, eternal life.” It is an assurance that the Lord Jesus will never abandon those who follow Him (disciples), and those whom He sent (apostles) as long as they unite their lives to God and trust in Him as the only treasure in their life (see Mt. 19:20). They who have given up all that they had were guaranteed more than what they apparently lost.
Jesus assures us that God will provide everything we need as we abandon ourselves to him in a process of self-emptying. He will affirm our decision to journey with him through the new connections that will grow from it, a new family in a new world order bound in him. St. John Eudes’ teaching comes to mind: self-emptying is an actual recognition of our nothingness before God and, at the same time, a readiness to welcome this God again and again. From this vantage point, everything is a gift coming from God.