The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed.  What do I still lack?” 

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come follow me.”  When the young man heard the statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions”  Matthew 19:20-22

In today’s gospel, Jesus invites a man to invest in eternity.    Give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven...   

But the investment is too risky.   The man simply cannot surrender his possessions.

The story challenges each of us to ask:  Are my things keeping me from serving the needy?

Is my flat screen TV preventing me from volunteering at the local food shelf or woman’s shelter?   Is my comfortable home isolating me from my neighbor in need?  Is my ringing cell phone deafening my ears to the cry of the homeless, the handicapped or the lonely?

In heaven, we will stand with those we have served on earth, our lives inter-twined forever.   As the radiance of God’s presence shines upon us, treasures will be ours.  We will live in mansions, eat at banquets and dance together on streets of gold.

So prepare for eternity.  Give to the poor. Make an investment in streets of gold.

For additional Lenten Reflections, visit Loyola Press’ Daily 3 Minute Retreat


Find some creative ways to serve the poor.   If your checkbook allows, surprise an unemployed family with a basket that includes gift certificates, chocolates and movie theatre tickets.   If you are experiencing financial struggle, find joy in baking a plate of cookies for an elderly person on a fixed budget.  When driving your kids to school, make eye contact with the man who stands on the street corner holding the “Will work for food” sign.  Give him your extra change or even a ten dollar bill.    Your act of kindness, no matter how small, will be noticed by God.

Copyright 2012 Nancy Jo Sullivan