Daily Reflection
August 18th, 2003
Chas Kestermeier, S.J.
Chaplain, Kiewit Residence Hall
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Judges 2:11-19
Psalm 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43, 44
Matthew 19:16-22

This passage from the gospel is more than just a call to the vowed religious life (if it is that at all), it is far more complex and far more general in application.

Jesus, when asked about how to achieve everlasting life, lists those commandments which deal with our relations to other people; he does not mention the three commandments which regard our relations with God.  

When this response does not satisfy the young man, Jesus seems to go even further in this direction of serving the neighbor and still does not mention God as such: "Go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor....  Then come back and follow me."  The implication, I think, is that by doing what we can for those around us we serve God, we begin to follow Christ.

Every one of us can be counted among the poor who need to be served: not one of us feels that we are sufficiently known but rather that we are neglected, misunderstood, and undervalued by others.  And every one of us feels insufficiently loved and cared for.  So in this passage Jesus actively sends each of us to every person we know or meet, and Jesus himself comes to meet us as we open ourselves to the service and love those others offer to us.

In short, I believe that Christ is calling us here to serve God, to fulfill those other three commandments, by going beyond the law in a self-forgetting love and concern for others that is a true imitation (and so true praise) of our heavenly Father.

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