Introductory Prayer: Almighty and ever-living God, I seek new strength from the courage of Christ our shepherd. I believe in you, I hope in you, and I seek to love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. I want to be led one day to join the saints in heaven, where your Son Jesus Christ lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Petition: Jesus, may I love as you have loved me.
1. Teacher, What Must I Do to Inherit Eternal Life? Since the human soul is spiritual, its longings are infinite in scope, and so we naturally want to live an eternity of happiness, an eternity full of life. Yet this scholar of the law has keenly perceived that eternal life is more than just the next step after death. I must do something in order to inherit it. My existence and my redemption are totally unmerited gifts from God: I never asked him for the gift of life nor did I ask him to die for me, yet here I am, alive and redeemed. What is more, I can never earn either existence or God's free love. Yet there is at least an aspect of eternal life that derives from my merit. The quality of my eternal life corresponds to the quality of my love and the goodness of my deeds on this side of eternity.
2. What Is Written in the Law? The response of Jesus verifies a profoundly Catholic understanding of reality. The scholar's question could be put in another way: "What must I do to be saved?" One would expect the response to be: "Believe, have faith!" Yet Jesus already knows that this man has faith. He confirms that faith is certainly necessary for salvation, but that faith must be translated into love if we are to have eternal life. When Jesus says, "What is written in the law," he presupposes faith in God, the author of the moral law. But in addition, he is inviting him to apply his faith to living the law in love. Faith and works are inseparable. "Whoever says, 'I know him,' but does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever keeps his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection" (1 John 2:4-5).
3. Do This and You Will Live: With these words Jesus brings the lesson to a full conclusion. By loving as the Good Samaritan loves, we are on the path to a life that is never-ending, a life that we naturally long to experience and possess. We must always trust Jesus when we find that he places us in situations that stretch our love and generosity to limits that often hurt. He knows that we long for eternal life, but he also knows that the path to that life is a love that purifies, stretches, and demands our all. Therefore, Jesus invites us to follow him down the road of life-giving love. Every crucifix reminds us of this self-giving love that leads to life.
Conversation with Christ: Blessed Lord, increase my faith so that I may see you in every person I meet. Strengthen my hope that I may trust firmly that you will give me all I need to love as you ask. Deepen my love that I may experience the joy that comes from giving and not counting the cost. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus.
Resolution: Today I will do three hidden acts of charity.
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