Friends, in today’s Gospel, a young man comes to Jesus and asks, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” This honest and searching question symbolizes the universal longing of the human being for moral integrity. As such, it is not primarily a question regarding rules, commandments, and prohibitions but a quest for “the full meaning of life.”
Jesus’ initial response is somewhat enigmatic: “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good.” In fact, it cuts to the heart of the matter. The greatest mistake that the moral searcher can make is to presume that the goal of his quest can be found in any good or truth other than God.
One of the most insistently repeated themes of the Bible is that, since we are made according to God’s image, we will not find fulfillment in anything other than God. And this insight is repeated by practically every major figure in our tradition, most famously and poetically by Augustine: “Our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.”