Don’t Hold Back
Malvern Minute

 

August 21, 2017 – Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Pius X, Pope

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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, keep 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.

 

Reflect: All of these I have observed. What do I still lack? The young man in today’s gospel desires to do good. He wants to do the right things, but in his heart he knows that there is something more; he recognizes that he is lacking even though he keeps the commandments. Jesus is honest with 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.” Jesus was reading his heart. The young man, perhaps, was looking at the commandments as a check-list of things to do rather than an opportunity for a true conversion of heart. Regardless, Jesus understood that despite doing “good things” the young man was excessively attached to the things of this world. Perhaps, he was held back by a selfish spirit, or entitlement, or a lack of charity toward those most in need. Regardless, Jesus provides him with a wake-up call: If you really want to follow me; if you really want to walk with God, then you must let go of these things, these attitudes, these attachments that are keeping your heart far from me. The gospel, then, is a challenge for us: what do we lack in turning over to Jesus? What holds us back from dying to self? May Jesus show us how to prune our hearts to become more like his.

Questions: What parts of my life do I fail in turning over completely to Jesus? What holds me back from dying to self so that I can experience the fullness of life in Jesus? What is one area in my life that gets in the way of my spiritual growth, and that Jesus might be asking me to abandon to him today?

Pray: Loving God, you are the fullness of life. Your words lead me to everlasting life. Touch my heart with your words so that I might be set free to love you and love others without holding back.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Pius X: Pray for us!

Pius X was born Giuseppe Sarto in Riese, Italy. His parents were poor, hardworking people. Prior to his election as Pope in 1903, he labored arduously as parish chaplain, bishop, and Patriarch of Venice to awaken the hearts of the faithful. During his pontificate, he condemned the Modernist heresy and promoted the catechesis of adults and children, priestly formation, and frequent reception of the Eucharist. Pope Pius extended the age of First Communion to children as young as seven years old. Even during his lifetime, many miracles were attributed to this “pope of the Eucharist.” His goal was to “renew all things in Christ.” He died on August 20, 1914. He is the patron of sick pilgrims.

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