17 Aug 2015
The young man said to Jesus: “All these [commandments] I have observed. What do I still lack?” And that’s a question we ourselves might be tempted to ask. We say: “I go to Mass on Sundays, I spend time in prayer, I love God, and I try to love others and treat them as I would want to be treated. So why don’t I feel happy and fulfilled all the time? What am I still lacking?”
Of course, the thing we lack is something we cannot have. The thing we lack is something we cannot possess; because the perfection of love and happiness we want in life isn’t about possessing anything. Instead, it’s just the opposite. Love lets go. And happiness and fulfillment aren’t grasped at; they’re what we receive when we let go.
It’s no wonder why Jesus said to the young man: “go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” And he says something similar to us. He sees us building up our checklist of good deeds, like people making a deposit in the bank whenever we do something good.
But in response to that he says, “Throw away the checklist and stop thinking about cashing in what you’ve accumulated in the bank. The fulfillment you’re looking for isn’t built on spiritual achievements; it isn’t built on possessing anything. It’s about letting go and letting me possess you.”
Money can’t buy happiness. Spiritual achievements can’t buy happiness. Only the self-emptying love and sacrifice of Christ can buy that. Luckily, he’s already paid the price for our happiness. All we need to “do” is renew our commitment to him. And that happens most especially here at the altar with our “Amen” to the Eucharist.
We open our hands in a spirit of poverty and say, “Amen” to our Lord and Savior. Truly, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” the kingdom of happiness, the kingdom of true and lasting love.