I wanted to share what a thought provoking and reflective post …. Yes, I do want to be great. I think though it’s not through any effort of my own that this is achieved but more through the gift of grace and being born again as Jesus told Nicodemus. This “old man” must die as we all do in our baptism and then the “new man” rises in the spirit of Jesus Christ. Of course, as a disciple. I must then be willing to take up my cross. And follow after Him. anyhow….. thought you might enjoy and reflect upon these words. Is Good, Good Enough? By Fr. Steve Ryan, SDB He’s basically a good man. She’s basically a good woman. Okay – great. That’s the minimal ordinary standard of a civilized person, a baptized Christian and a novice disciple. It’s not the ultimate achievement or final product for a person of faith. We Christians ought to aim higher – to holiness. Jesus in the gospels always challenges us to be more than simply good. God is calling us to be great men and women. This is clearly demonstrated in Matthew 19:16-30. It’s the story of the rich young man and it goes like this: Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. The young man comes up to Our Lord and asks, “How good must I be to gain eternal life?” Jesus says, “You ask me about good, huh? Okay, to be good, keep the commandments.” Then Jesus goes on to list most of them. The man proudly says that he has been keeping the commandments. Using our imagination a bit, Christ may have ended by telling the young man, “Son, that’s a good beginning but what you described is the MINIMAL standard!” Jesus is saying – this is enough to get started but you are far from done. Unfortunately, most of us seem to be happy with that – being good. As long as we are living up to the minimal expectation, we are content. We even brag about it. “I don’t steal.” “I don’t cheat.” “I pray a bit.” “I don’t lie much.” Basically, we tell the Lord – I’m trying! I’m hanging in there. Notice that the conversation between Jesus and the man in Matthew’s Gospel goes quiet for a moment and that Christ waits to see if the young fellow is willing to aspire to a higher level of living his faith life. As he looks upon the young man with love, he is indicating to him, “That’s a good start young man, but are you interested in the better than good? What about being great? About being the best you can be?” The rich young man in fact was curious. He was curious about going further. He thought to himself, “What if I really wanted to be great? What if I really wanted to be something special before God and others in this world? Impulsively he asks a question, “Heh, Jesus, I think I might want to be great (I really want to shine for God), so what else must I do?” In the young man’s case it was possessions that were holding him back from greatness. However, in our cases it may be something else. What could it be? Anger? Lust? Pride? Unforgiveness? Jealousy? No matter – going from good to great entails surrender! “Give it all to me” is what Jesus is saying to us. Greatness = surrendering our lives to God. One interpretation of this gospel could very well be: don’t settle for mediocrity. Therefore, we must “Let go and let God”. Are you curious about going further? I want to be better than minimal I want to be outstanding I want to be holy I want to be a saint I want to shine I want to be on fire Don’t be afraid. Let’s listen to Jesus’ invitation to set the bar higher. Say it: “I want to be great.” “I want to be deep.” “I want to be more!” “I surrender all to you.” Excelsior!