“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good.”
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This is the beginning of the Parable of the Rich Young Man and the initial question of the young man and the response from Jesus. This simple exchange raises several important issues.
Is good and doing good merely a ticket for our eternal life? Is it a means to an end? Is it reduced to a thing, made an object? Or is good deeper than that, more than that? Is it built into us? In our soul? That which we seek because it brings peace and contentment, our happiness, our wholeness? If we are made for God and relationship with God who alone is complete Good, do we not seek God and good more than eternal life? Are we not fulfilled by living the good that is in us, in our soul?
It is said that “Goodness needeth not to enter into the soul, for it is there already, only it is unperceived.” To understand this is to understand virtue, the human person, the soul, the supernatural, what is sacred and itself eternal and everlasting. But do we see this? Know this? Live this?
Our culture conveys little or nothing of this.
The images we see day after day, especially on television, are the opposite. Endless crime stories, shows that place us inside prisons, ads for violent video games, movies of end-of-the-world blood baths. But perhaps the worse of all are the weight-loss ads pegged to woman. They all say the same thing: I am 50 years old and lost 50 pounds, I am now able to wear a smaller dress size or bathing suit and my husband thinks I’m sexy. Really, but are you good? Are you a whole person or merely a body? No evidence of good in these dominant messages.
I have known good people. They are a blessing. Women in particular. They are calm, content. They exude beauty. Their demeanor is gentle, their eyes sparkle, they do not quarrel, they prosper in all circumstances, they reassure and are confident and that confidence arises from their relationship with God. They comfort and show their strength in that. But they are not what our culture produces or encourages. Rather they wisely conform to their God-given nature. We should learn from them.
“Goodness needeth not enter into the soul, for it is there already …”
Think of the price you pay for a godless culture. Why let such a price be passed to you? It does not present contentment. On the contrary, it kills the soul and robs you of your identity.