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Liturgical day: January 17th: St. Anthony, the Abbot

Gospel text (Mt 19,16-26): A young man approached him and asked, «What is still lacking?». Jesus answered, «If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all that you possess and give the money to the poor and you will become the owner of a treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me». A young man approached him and asked, «Master, what good work must I do to receive eternal life?». Jesus answered, «Why do you ask me about what is good? Only one is Good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments». The young man said, «Which commandments?». Jesus replied, «Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself». The young man said to him, «I have kept all these commandments, what is still lacking?». Jesus answered, «If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all that you possess and give the money to the poor and you will become the owner of a treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me».

On hearing this answer, the young man went away sad for he was a man of great wealth. Jesus said to his disciples, «Truly I say to you: it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, believe me: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven». On hearing this the disciples were astonished and said, «Who, then, can be saved?». Jesus looked steadily at them and answered, «For humans it is impossible, but for God all things are possible».

Illustration: Pili Piñero

Today we remember the example of Saint Anthony (Egypt, 250-356 a. C.). After giving his goods to the poor, he retired to the desert to lead a life of prayer and penance. His example removed many others who came to see him for advice or to share his life. In fact, Saint Anthony Abbot is considered the founding father of the monks.

- There are deserts and deserts! Who is attached to material things lives in an unproductive "desert".