To be perfect, give to the poor

To be perfect, give to the poor

“If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)

Religiosity without charity amounts to mere lip service before God. It is not enough that we keep God’s commandments; we must also ensure that we do not make a god of our material possessions. If we cannot give out what we have, if we cannot help the less privileged, if we do not care about the poor, it simply means the things we have are the gods we worship.

The key to generosity is knowing where one’s security lies. Where exactly is my security? My bank account? My name? My friends? My job description? Or my God. The truth is that if my security lies in anything material, I am bound to become stingy knowing that it will not last forever.

The young man walked away sorrowful because he could not imagine life without his possessions. He felt that without his money, without his expensive clothes, shoes, gold and diamonds, without his mansions, without his oil wells and so on, he would just die.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of this young man and allow the words of Jesus resound once again in your ears: “If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you possess and give to the poor.” Are you going to walk away? Are you going to just bluff over this message and go about your normal day to day activities? Or are you going to take an excursion to your wardrobe and bring out clothes you no longer need so that you can clothe some poor persons who cannot afford such?

That the bible recorded the sorrowful disposition of this young man shows that in truth, attachment to what this world has to offer only brings sorrow, pain and sadness. There is nothing in this world that is capable of bringing us lasting happiness. True freedom is the willingness to risk losing everything we have because we know that God alone is our security. Shun idolatry and stop worshipping your properties. You were born without them and you can still survive without them. Let go and Let God.

Our first reading today contains another dramatic episode in the life of the Prophet Ezekiel. Not too long ago, we read how God told Ezekiel to act as one going on exile and carry the baggage of an exile and dig through the wall of the city in the sight of the people just to draw their attention to what would come if they persist in their sins. Today, we read how God told Ezekiel that his beloved wife, the delight of his eyes would be taken from him but he was not to weep or mourn. Ezekiel told the people this message in the morning and that very evening his wife died thus the prophet himself became a sign to the people of calamity that was to come.

Dear friends, there is no gain in sin. Just as our Gospel passage encouraged us to give away our possessions to attain perfection, the life of the prophet Ezekiel also encourages to give up our attachment to sin and our love for those things that displease God. Yes, you can do without that bad habit, you can give up that secret vice. Let go and Let God.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace of inner freedom. Amen Bible Study: Ezekiel 24:15-24, Resp: Deut. 32:18-21, Matthew 19:16-22).

Fr. Abu

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