Jesus said unto him,
If you will be perfect, go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Read Chapter 19
George Leo Haydock
If thou wilt be perfect. This shows there is a difference betwixt things that are of precept, and those that are of counsel only, which they aim at, that aspire to the greatest perfection. (Witham)
Evangelical perfection essentially consists in the perfect observance of God's commandments, which is greatly assisted by embracing not only voluntary poverty, but also the other counsels given to us in the gospels, such as perpetual chastity, and entire obedience.
Follow me. Thus to follow Christ, is to be without wife and care of children, to have no property, and to live in community; this state of life hath a great reward in heaven. This state, we learn from St. Augustine, the apostles followed; and he himself not only embraced it, but exhorted as many others as he possibly could to embrace it. (St. Augustine, ep. lxxxix, in fine, and in Ps. ciii. conc. 3. post. med.) (Bristow)
The whole perfection of a Christian life consists in following Christ, by an imitation of his virtues. So th...
It is in our power whether we wish to be perfect. Yet whoever wishes to be perfect ought to sell what he has—and not sell them in part, as Ananias did and Sapphira, but to sell it all. When he has sold it to give it all to the poor, he has begun to prepare for himself a treasure in the kingdom of heaven. Nor is this sufficient for perfection unless after despising riches he follows the Savior, that is, abandons evil and does good. For more easily is a little purse despised than one’s will. Many abandon their wealth but do not follow the Savior. To follow the Savior is to be an imitator of him and walk in his steps. Anyone who says that he believes in Christ must himself also walk in the steps he walked in. .
Do you see how many prizes, how many crowns, He appoints for this race? If he had been tempting, He would not have told him these things. But now He both says it, and in order to draw him on, He also shows him the reward to be great, and leaves it all to his own will, by all means throwing into the shade that which seemed to be grievous in His advice. Wherefore even before mentioning the conflicts and the toil, He shows him the prize, saying If you will be perfect, and then says, Sell that you have, and give to the poor, and straightway again the rewards, You shall have treasure in Heaven; and come, and follow me. For indeed to follow Him is a great recompense. And you shall have treasure in Heaven.
For since his discourse was of money, even of all did He advise him to strip himself, showing that he loses not what he has, but adds to his possessions, He gave him more than He required him to give up; and not only more, but also as much greater as Heaven is greater than earth, and yet...
Everything, He says, which you say you have accomplished, you have done by fulfilling only the letter of the law, as do the Jews. But if thou wilt be perfect, that is, if you wish to be My disciple and a Christian, then go and sell all that you have, and give everything all at once, keeping nothing back with which to give alms continuously. He did not say, "give repeatedly to the poor," but give once and for all and be stripped of your wealth. Since there are some who give alms but lead a life full of every kind of filth, He adds, and come and follow Me, that is, possess every other virtue as well. The young man, however, was sorrowful, for though he desired eternal life and the soil of his heart was deep and fertile, the thorns of wealth were choking him. For it says, he had great possessions. He who has few possessions is not similarly restrained by them, for the bond of many possessions is more tyrannical. Because the Lord was conversing with a rich man, He said, "Do you love wealth...