“And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ And he said, ‘All these I have observed from my youth.’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. Jesus looking at him said, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ Those who heard it said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ But he said, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.’” (Lk 18: 18-27)
Jesus says to the ruler, “You know the commandments…,” but then He proceeds to list only some of them, omitting the one He Himself called “the great and first commandment” (Mt 22: 38), about loving God with all our hearts. Because this ruler did “know” some of the commandments, but he did not really “know” that one. There was something keeping him from loving God with all his heart; perhaps a lack of faith in the simple fact that God “is good,” of which our Lord reminds him.
Is there something or some things keeping me, today, from loving God wholeheartedly, and from offering up to Him all that I “have”? Am I, in my heart of hearts, projecting onto His perfect goodness our merely-human “goodness,” which is changeable and may have betrayed me in the past? Let me hear the Lord assure me today, “No one is good” like God is good; “No one is good but God alone.” Let me not fear the vulnerability of loving Him, because in His love, “with God,” all things are possible, and I need not fear anything on my cross-carrying journey – neither the losses nor the gains. Because “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom 8: 28).