Augustine on the rich young man, today’s Gospel

St. Augustine has something to say about today’s Gospel reading from Matthew on the rich young man (s. 84.1 in PL 38:519)

The Lord said to a certain young man, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”  He did not say, “If you would have life” but “If you would enter life,” defining that life as eternal life.  Let us first consider then the love of this life.  For this life is loved, whatever its quality; and however troubled it is, however wretched, people are afraid to end it.  Hence we should see, we should consider, how much eternal life is to be loved, when this miserable life that must at some time be ended is so loved.  Consider, brothers, how much that life is to be loved when it is a life you never end.  You love this life, where you work so much, run, are busy, pant.  In this life the obligations can scarcely be counted: sowing, plowing, working new land, sailing, grinding, cooking, weaving.  And after all this hard work your life comes to an end.  Look at what you suffer in this wretched life that you so love.  And do you think that you will always live and never die?  Temples, rocks, marbles, all reinforced by iron and lead, still fall.  And a person thinks that he will never die?  Learn therefore, brothers, to seel eternal life, when you will not endure these things but will reign with God forever.

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