On the 12th Sunday after Pentecost the parable read at the Divine Liturgy (Matthew 19:16-26) presents us the meeting of Jesus Christ with a young rich man. His Beatitude delivered a sermon in the historical chapel of the Patriarchal Cathedral in which he explained the teaching of this parable.
The Heavenly Treasure is Christ Himself
His Beatitude showed that Jesus Christ called the young man to give up the goods of the world to receive treasure in heaven:
“When Jesus Christ, our Saviour tells him: Come, follow Me it means ‘give up something temporary to gain something eternal: the God-Man. Give up something earthly to have treasure in heaven—but the greatest heavenly treasure is Christ Himself.’
Thus, you give up something temporary and limited to spiritually join the Eternal and Unlimited, namely the Son of God Who, out of love for mankind and for their salvation has become just what He loved, namely man. Thus, we see the difficulty of the young man to give up the temporary, material, and limited goods to fully follow Christ,” the Patriarch of Romania said.
Come to become Christian
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel emphasized the fact that the eternal life that this young man was looking for was Christ—the Source of eternal life.
“We also understand the fact that when Jesus says Come, follow Me, it already means the anticipation of the Mystery of the Church, because Jesus tells him, in fact, ‘Come to become Christian, to be a disciple of Mine, together with the other disciples, with the Apostles who were present there and who formed the leading nucleus of the Church of Christ later on;’ in other words, ‘Be in communion with Me and in communion with My disciples.’ This community of disciples is the basic nucleus of the Church of Christ, and this is why the Church is catholic and apostolic. She possesses the fullness of truth and is in continuity and communion of truth and grace with the holy Apostles. In fact, the Savior proposes to this young man an exchange: you give up something to follow Somebody Unlimited and Eternal Who can give you just what you want—eternal Life; because Christ told him: I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he die, that is, although his body will die. Thus, Christ is the source of the eternal life that this young man sough,” His Beatitude said.
The good deed done out of devoted and merciful love is the treasure that we take with us to heaven
His Beatitude demonstrated that this parable is a Gospel of conversion and mercy:
”This young man was religious and moral, but avaricious. Thus, it is not enough to pray a lot, but we must also do many good deeds and be merciful. Why? It is because we must resemble our merciful devoted God. The good deed done out of devoted and merciful love is the treasure that we take with us to heaven. In general, when we gather material riches we have them around us, but when we do good deeds out of mercy and devoted love we gather treasure in our soul, we gather the light of the merciful love working in us,” His Beatitude Daniel stated.
We must do much good to acquire eternal life
This day’s Gospel urges us to generosity and mercy His Beatitude said:
“The Gospel also shows us that it is not enough to do no harm, not steal, kill, be debauchers, liars, but we must also do many good deeds to acquire eternal life, to reach salvation and perfection. The Gospel shows us that it is not enough to be religious, but we must also be merciful. Whenever somebody has material goods he must help the poor, and even when he has no material goods he must be merciful through good words, good advice, and especially through prayers for others, and whenever he has material goods, he must help especially the those with no food, clothes, or shelter,” His Beatitude said.