Commentary on the Gospel of
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
You do not “do” anything to inherit something. Inheritance is not predicated on one’s doing something. Inheritance is solely predicated on being somebody. I inherit my parents’ property not because I “do” something, but because I “am” somebody in relation to them. We inherit eternal life, not because we do something, but because we are children of God, period!
The uniqueness Christian faith brings, to paraphrase the words of theologian James Alison, is this: Our faith is not primarily a matter of doing good; it is not even about being good; it is all about being loved! Had that young man known the heart of faith, he wouldn’t have asked that question at all! Nor would he have hesitated to sell all he had! Because, what would be more delightful and fulfilling than being with Jesus himself who loves him from top to bottom, inside out! This is what Paul means when he says, “I regard [everything] as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phili.3:8).
And once we fall into that love, we can only emerge as good persons; we can only think and do good! To borrow a phrase from Schillebeeckx, there will be an “existential inability to do otherwise!”
Perhaps he should have asked: “Good teacher, how must I live the inheritance I have?” And Jesus would have smiled and said, “Come and see.” And he would have left everything and gone with Jesus and seen!