July 13, 2013

15th Sunday - C


Right Question, Right Attitude, Wrong Motivation

In today’s Gospel passage, the scholar of the law asks the right question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

That is the question we all should ask.  Jesus himself warns us, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” (Luke 9:25). [1]

In his question, the scholar conveys a right attitude.  His use of the correct verb “to inherit” suggests his awareness that eternal life is given to us.  As a scholar, he knows the Jewish understanding that it was God who gave the Chosen People the land as an inheritance.  [2]. 

But his motivation is wrong.  As Luke puts it, the man asks the question “to test Jesus.”

He has not come to know or accept Jesus is the gift of eternal life that the Father gives to the world. 

Do we ask the right question, with the right attitude, and the right motivation?  

And do we allow Jesus to be our way to eternal life?

[1] Matthew recorded the similar warning from Jesus with a reference to forfeiting one’s life “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Matthew 16:26).

[2] Genesis 28:4.  Quoted Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke; Sacra Pagina Series.  Collegeville, MN; Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 172.

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