However, the rich young man could not achieve what he was looking for. Even though the dialogue went well this one could not reach the target, which Jesus set before him. What are his drawbacks?
Firstly, he could not update his spiritual knowledge. It was not enough that he was an expert in the Scripture and he could tell Jesus that he followed the Ten Commandments from his childhood onwards. He was not aware of the new interpretations of Jesus regarding the Decalogue; murder is not just killing a person, but it starts when you call somebody an idiot (Mtt 5,22); similarly, all the other commandments were re-interpreted by Jesus during his Sermon on the Mount.
Updating the knowledge that we acquire from the Sunday School is an important thing in our life. Recently a young man asked me whether our baptism gives us forgiveness of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit and a New Life in the Kingdom of God. He had passed the tenth class of the Sunday school. But he could not update it regularly.
Secondly, he could not identify his limitations and draw backs. He thought he is ok before God. But God reads the inner hearts of his children and he shows us where we have to make changes. Since he is a self-righteous man, the young man of Lk 18 thinks that he will get the Eternal Life only by learning the commandments by heart. Jesus calls such people hypocrites and he gives more importance for people who practice the commandments of the Lord. Unless and until we are patient enough to recognize our faults and ready to practice what we believe we can not enter the Kingdom of God.
Thirdly, he puts more importance for his wealth. He prefers the worldly to the heavenly. He wants to get the Eternal Life without loosing his possessions. Wealthy people are vulnerable for sins because their wealth brings them into association with all kinds of evil things of the world. Sometimes, rich people become rich by doing unjust and evil things. In the case of this young man wealth is a hindrance to his spiritual growth. That is why Jesus asks him to keep himself away from the worldly possessions.
Finally, this man is not ready for changing his life. Jesus asks for a de tour from all who approach him. Repentance and a change of attitude in our life are primary requirements to achieve the Eternal Life. The Christian discipleship needs an effort from the believers and everyone should be proud of the Cost of Discipleship. See what St. Paul tells the Christians of Rome; “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind” (Rom 12,2).
This is a hard teaching for the young man. Therefore he returned disappointed. I think he is the only one who returned sad after having a good dialogue with Jesus. Let us take new decisions at the beginning of this New Year and make our life more meaningful.
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