Saint Benedict, Abbot and Co-Patron of Europe – Readings

Commentary on Proverbs 2:1-9; Psalm 33; Matthew 19:27-29

Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew is taken from the verses following the story of the rich man. Recall that in that story, the rich man came to Jesus and asked what he should do to gain eternal life. When Jesus told to him to keep the Commandments, he asked which ones Jesus had in mind. Jesus then cited the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th commandments. The significant thing about all of them is that they are concerned with relations with other people. Commandments on relations with God are not mentioned. The man said that he had kept all these commandments since he was young. “What else was lacking?” he asked. Jesus told 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.

That was too much for the wealthy man. He went away deeply disappointed because he was very well-off and could not take that step.

When he had gone, Jesus told his disciples that:

…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.

On hearing this, the disciples were astounded because, for them, as well as anyone in the society of the time, wealth was a sign of God’s blessings. Their reaction was, if the rich could not be saved, who could be?

Peter, speaking in their name, said to Jesus:

…we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?

And it is then that Jesus speaks the words of today’s Gospel:

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.

All those who are ready to leave family and property in order to follow the Way of Jesus will be rewarded many times over – and in this life.

This was all confirmed by Benedict and the way of life suggested by his Rule. Many people left their families and their material security to follow the monastic life. They entered a life of material simplicity, but also a life of loving security where everyone contributed to the well-being of everyone else.

Today’s First Reading from the Book of Proverbs speaks of another great characteristic of the Benedictine way, arising out of their way of life. His monasteries became centres of learning and wisdom which had a great influence on the knowledge and culture of Europe.

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly,
guarding the paths of justice
and preserving the way of his faithful ones.

These monasteries are a clear signal that a life of simplicity is not a barren life, but one that is deeply enriching not only for those who live there, but for all those who come under their influence.

Comments Off on Saint Benedict, Abbot and Co-Patron of Europe – Readings

Printed from LivingSpace - part of Sacred Space
Copyright © 2024 Sacred Space :: :: All rights reserved.