Memory of the Poor

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Memory of St. Stephen (+1038), king of Hungary. He was converted to the Gospel and promoted the evangelization of his country.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 19,16-22

And now a man came to him and asked, 'Master, what good deed must I do to possess eternal life?'

Jesus said to him, 'Why do you ask me about what is good? There is one alone who is good. But if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.'

He said, 'Which ones?' Jesus replied, 'These: You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false witness.

Honour your father and your mother. You shall love your neighbour as yourself.'

The young man said to him, 'I have kept all these. What more do I need to do?'

Jesus said, 'If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.'

But when the young man heard these words he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The question of how to obtain eternal life is the question of each one of us, who for the most part are children of the rich world, or at least attached to our things. As if to avoid any misunderstandings, Jesus immediately says that only God is good, not us. Nonetheless, the young man responds by saying that he has not broken any of the commandments. He thinks he is doing fine; what else is there to do? He thought he deserved eternal life. In reality, eternal life is not obtained through our own merits; it is not something that can be bought or something to which we have a right. Eternal life means choosing Jesus before every else, before even ourselves and our wealth. Jesus does not reply by giving an eleventh commandment, he simply says: "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." He proposes a high ideal: "if you wish to be perfect." This is not a suggestion reserved for a few, for the best, or for the most courageous; the Lord’s school is not selective. Perfection is for everyone, and it is within everyone’s reach, because it involves the heart. The heart is perfect when it is totally God’s and not divided with anything else. The perfect man and the perfect woman are those who have understood that one cannot serve God and wealth (Mt 6:24). If we love God more than anything else, it is logical for us to give our wealth to the poor. Unfortunately, that young man did not have the courage to leave behind his wealth and begin following the Lord. He thought that happiness consisted in possessing wealth, but he was wrong. The evangelist notes that "he went away grieving." This Gospel passage still teaches us the way to salvation and happiness today: following the Lord, not being attached to our wealth.