Matthew 19:21 and Purgatory


#1

Matthew 19:

The Rich Young Man.
16 Now someone approached him and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” 17 He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good.** If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, " ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; 19 honor your father and your mother’; and ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” 20 The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. **What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you,** it will be hard** for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.

In the context of purgatory, this makes so much sense. What must the rich young man do to gain eternal life?? Follow the commandments.

My view of purgatory is consistent with Church teaching - we need it to be perfected for Heaven.

The young man asks what he still lacks. ** How can he lack ANYTHING?** He is already set to have eternal life? But, Jesus says instead, "If you want to be perfect..." Why would he want to be perfect? To avoid the purgation that will take place in the next life.

Indeed! The young man chooses to cling to his possessions rather than to follow Christ. The attachment to material things must be burned out of us in order to achieve the perfection needed for Heaven!

Then, Jesus says, "It will be hard..." I think this verse is often times incorrectly taken to mean that a rich person is not likely to gain eternal life. But, that's not what this says. It says that entry will be hard. Why would it be hard? Because, there's a purification process that is going to be hard process to endure.

So, do I have this wrong?


#2

[quote="in_servitude, post:1, topic:335822"]
Matthew 19:

In the context of purgatory, this makes so much sense. What must the rich young man do to gain eternal life?? Follow the commandments.

My view of purgatory is consistent with Church teaching - we need it to be perfected for Heaven.

The young man asks what he still lacks. ** How can he lack ANYTHING?** He is already set to have eternal life? But, Jesus says instead, "If you want to be perfect..." Why would he want to be perfect? To avoid the purgation that will take place in the next life.

Indeed! The young man chooses to cling to his possessions rather than to follow Christ. The attachment to material things must be burned out of us in order to achieve the perfection needed for Heaven!

Then, Jesus says, "It will be hard..." I think this verse is often times incorrectly taken to mean that a rich person is not likely to gain eternal life. But, that's not what this says. It says that entry will be hard. Why would it be hard? Because, there's a purification process that is going to be hard process to endure.

So, do I have this wrong?

[/quote]

It should be noted that Jesus says more than simply that it will be hard for a rich man to enter heaven...Note vs 24...
23And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.**24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." **25When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Other than for this - I like what you say very much.

Peace
James


#3

I don't think Jesus was talking about purgatory. The man loved riches and one can't serve God and money. Matthew 6:24

Besides, I can't think of any scriptures that support purgatory.


#4

here are some verses that may help…
2 Maccabees 12:46
Mt 5:26 & 12:32
Lk 12:59
Rev 21:27

Hope this helps.


#5

Thank You! :thumbsup:


#6

Here are a couple more:

1 Corinthians 3:11-15
Matt 12:31-32


#7

[quote="Remember_Me, post:3, topic:335822"]
I don't think Jesus was talking about purgatory. The man loved riches and one can't serve God and money. Matthew 6:24

Besides, I can't think of any scriptures that support purgatory.

[/quote]

I agree with you, the quoted verses have nothing to do with purgatory. There are however some oblique passages / verses in the NT that can be used to successfully argued the possibility/concept of Purgatory. The Trinity is not explicitly mentioned in the scriptures, though Catholics and and the vast majority of Protestants except it as an undeniable fact.

Matthew 5:20 "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 21 “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; **26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny. **

Question...were is this prison of fire were we atone for unpaid sins?

Also consider the following....
Mathew 12:32- 32 And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Question/Observation...here is a sin that cannot be forgiven in the next life implying that others can be forgiven after death!

When Christ died Peter stated...
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

Question/Observation..When Christ died were did e first go hell/purgatory, paradise, heaven? My personal understanding is that when we die we go to purgatory to atone/pay for the sins we refused to accept responsibility or ask forgiveness for. We then, after purification, go to paradise awaiting the day when god calls all of mankind to his final judgment. In the book of Revelation we see the "souls under the alter", they are given robes, but told that they must "wait" a little longer. Were are these souls waiting, and for what reason were they given robes? Is it possible that they received there robes after purification and that the place under the alter "heaven" is the place called paradise?

The above scriptures don't explicitly mention purgatory, but they certainly support the idea, just like other scriptures support the Trinity.


#8

If I may interject my own view...I sort of think that the idea of "purgatory" is just a bit of a "red herring"....
The fundamental teaching - which many non-Catholics agree with - is that there will be some sort of final purification at or following death...and before we enter heaven.

So in Catholic lingo (Latin)...this is spoken of as a "Purgation"...and because, in our limited human thinking, this purgation takes place after physical death but before entry into heaven...there must be a place (or a state of being) where this purgation occurs...That place or state would be a ...-atory...so that the purge-ation takes place in a purge-atory

Of course the other thing that can be argued is the idea of time...how long does the purgation take. Some hold that it is more or less instantaneous and thus no "Place" is necessary.

For me - such arguments are somewhat moot since such things are outside of our concept of time and space.

But to put these things into a form that we can wrap our heads around, the Holy Spirit has taken the fundamental principles involved and given us this construct (Through the Church).

It is less important "where" or "how long" this purgation occurs than the fact that it will occur...and the more we can do in this life to grow in Holiness, the less purging will be required.

Just my :twocents:

Peace
James


#9

[quote="Didascalia, post:7, topic:335822"]
whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire....

Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; **26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny. **

Question...were is this prison of fire were we atone for unpaid sins?

[/quote]

I think you're conflating two ideas here, aren't you? In this passage, fiery Gehenna is the destination for those who curse and slander others, while in the example of a court case, we have the notion of a prison.

We've got a potential problem, too: the person thrown in "fiery Gehenna" isn't just serving out a sentence (after which he'll be released to happier environs) -- this appears to be an eternal destination! However, what are we to make of the prison example? Jesus explicitly makes this a finite punishment: "till you have paid the last penny"...! Now, if this is an example of hell, then there is no release: it's impossible to paid that debt in full, and so there can never be any release! Yet, Jesus says "until" (in the Greek, * ἕως* 'heos'); doesn't this imply a time 'after'? If we're talking about purgatory, then clearly, the 'after' state is heaven; if we're talking about hell, there's no 'after' state.

(Tangent alert: this ἕως shows up earlier in Matthew 1:25 -- Joseph did not know Mary until (ἕως) Jesus was born. We have a problem here, potentially: if ἕως always implies an 'after' state, then Joseph had sex with Mary and Matthew 5:26 means that there is a state of purgation before release into heaven. On the other hand, if ἕως does not always imply an 'after' state, then Mary's perpetual virginity is a possibility, and Matthew 5:26 might not be talking about purgatory. Which is it, then? ;) )

Mathew 12:32- 32 And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Question/Observation...here is a sin that cannot be forgiven in the next life implying that others can be forgiven after death!

My own observation: Jesus doesn't say "after death" or "in eternity" or "in heaven"; rather, he says "in the age to come." It seems to me that it's possible to interpret this as referring to two temporal ages: the current age (at the time Jesus spoke these words) is the age of the Law of Moses, while the age to come is the age of the New Covenant. In neither age is the sin against the Holy Spirit forgivable. By this logic, there's no implication that Jesus says that sins may be forgiven following death...


#10

[quote="in_servitude, post:1, topic:335822"]
Matthew 19:

In the context of purgatory, this makes so much sense. What must the rich young man do to gain eternal life?? Follow the commandments.

My view of purgatory is consistent with Church teaching - we need it to be perfected for Heaven.

The young man asks what he still lacks. ** How can he lack ANYTHING?** He is already set to have eternal life? But, Jesus says instead, "If you want to be perfect..." Why would he want to be perfect? To avoid the purgation that will take place in the next life.

Indeed! The young man chooses to cling to his possessions rather than to follow Christ. The attachment to material things must be burned out of us in order to achieve the perfection needed for Heaven!

Then, Jesus says, "It will be hard..." I think this verse is often times incorrectly taken to mean that a rich person is not likely to gain eternal life. But, that's not what this says. It says that entry will be hard. Why would it be hard? Because, there's a purification process that is going to be hard process to endure.

So, do I have this wrong?

[/quote]

This passage may not be strictly about purgatory; however as the OP indicated it is consistent with the Church's teaching about purgatory being a state of purification.


#11

Don't forget 1 Cor. 3: 10-15

Sally

[quote="1believer1, post:4, topic:335822"]
here are some verses that may help.....
2 Maccabees 12:46
Mt 5:26 & 12:32
Lk 12:59
Rev 21:27.

[/quote]


#12

[quote="Jon_S, post:6, topic:335822"]
Here are a couple more:

1 Corinthians 3:11-15
Matt 12:31-32

[/quote]

oops, should've scrolled down before responding. . . .

Sally


#13

[quote="Didascalia, post:7, topic:335822"]
My personal understanding is that when we die we go to purgatory to atone/pay for the sins we refused to accept responsibility or ask forgiveness for. We then, after purification, go to paradise awaiting the day when god calls all of mankind to his final judgment. In the book of Revelation we see the "souls under the alter", they are given robes, but told that they must "wait" a little longer. Were are these souls waiting, and for what reason were they given robes? Is it possible that they received there robes after purification and that the place under the alter "heaven" is the place called paradise?

[/quote]

I don't think this is quite right. Purgatory is for completely removing the "temporal consequences" of sin, to purify us in order that we may enter the Presence of Almighty God, where nothing impure can exist. Our sins are forgiven, when we repent, by grace merited by the suffering and death of Jesus; after which our penance/suffering purifies us, removing the residual effects of our sins.


#14

Yes, the love of money is fundamentally oriented against God. Yet, when the rich man asks Jesus what he must do, the answer is not to sell everything he has - that is not it. He answers that the rich man is to follow the commandments.

How do you explain that the rich man, who already does what Jesus teaches is sufficient for eternal life - how do you explain that the rich man is still lacking? I would suppose that obtaining eternal life is everything (without consideration of a purgation).


#15

I’m glad you have found some spiritual meaning in these verses. I do not say that you are wrong.

The Church uses these verses as part of its teaching about precepts vs. counsels.

The man is following the precepts of the law. Precepts are those things which are necessary. Christ teaches about the rules of life and conduct which must be followed to merit everlasting life. For this man, these are the ten commandments of the old law.

Jesus then teaches about going further, teaches about reaching perfection in this life. These are the evangelical cousels, where we more closely conform our lives to the life of Christ here on earth. These are not binding on all and not necessary for salvation, but are aimed at those who desire to do more than the minimum, for those who desire to reach perfection to the extent that it is possible here on earth.

The difference between a precept and a counsel lies in this, that the precept is a matter of necessity while the counsel is left to the free choice of the person to whom it is proposed. It is fitting, therefore, that the New Law, which is a law of liberty, should contain counsels of this kind, which would have been out of place in the Old Law, which was a law of servitude. Read More…

St. Francis, and all the Franciscans, Dominicans and other mendicants do exactly this, reach perfection in the evangelical cousel of poverty. Christ was poor, and mendicants live the life of Christ in poverty to its fullest here on earth. Not all are called to do so.

We are not required to sell everything and give everything to the poor in order to reach everlasting life, nor will I be punished in purgatory for owning a Ford Focus or taking a vacation every couple of years. Some might have to be purged of inordinate attachment to material goods, but it is not a sin to own property.

-Tim-


#16

[quote="in_servitude, post:1, topic:335822"]
Matthew 19:

In the context of purgatory, this makes so much sense. What must the rich young man do to gain eternal life?? Follow the commandments.

My view of purgatory is consistent with Church teaching - we need it to be perfected for Heaven.

The young man asks what he still lacks. ** How can he lack ANYTHING?** He is already set to have eternal life? But, Jesus says instead, "If you want to be perfect..." Why would he want to be perfect? To avoid the purgation that will take place in the next life.

Indeed! The young man chooses to cling to his possessions rather than to follow Christ. The attachment to material things must be burned out of us in order to achieve the perfection needed for Heaven!

Then, Jesus says, "It will be hard..." I think this verse is often times incorrectly taken to mean that a rich person is not likely to gain eternal life. But, that's not what this says. It says that entry will be hard. Why would it be hard? Because, there's a purification process that is going to be hard process to endure.

So, do I have this wrong?

[/quote]

I think Jesus was just saying is there are people in this world who value Money more then People and God.

It seems that what Jesus means here is not RICH man per say, but a man who puts MONEY above God, Or ANYTHING.

A man can be very very rich, He can give to people, the Church, the Poor. But this man is different. His money is not his God

But even people who love money and the power it can give can lean lessons in this world and turn back to God. But I do agree with you on how purgatory is the process that we have to really give up our hunger for material things and put GOD above that hunger.

But its just not money, it could be power, lust, alcohol, drugs. You have to have the LOVE of God above all else.

But all kidding aside its probally easier for a poor man to give up money because he don't have much.:rotfl:


#17

I very much appreciate the description of precepts vs. councils.

In the grand scheme of things, what is the point of trying to perfect our conformance to Christ if something much less than that will allow us to experience eternal life?


#18

[quote="in_servitude, post:17, topic:335822"]
I very much appreciate the description of precepts vs. councils.

In the grand scheme of things, what is the point of trying to perfect our conformance to Christ if something much less than that will allow us to experience eternal life?

[/quote]

Yes, the precepts are the absolute minimum. You can read about the precepts of the Church in the Catechism, numbers 2041 and on; go to Mass on Sunday, confess and recieve the Eucharist once per year, assent to believe what the creed states, try earnestly to avoid sin, etc. What must I do to inherit eternal life? Christ answered this question directly for the man who asked - obey the law - and now the Church teaches us the same through the precpets of the Church.

Those who who voluntarily embrace one or more of the evangelical coucels however, do so because they are called to do so by God. That is part of their purpose in life, why God create them. We call that a vocation.

Everyone has a primary vocation. Every single person who ever lived and ever will live is called to the vocation of holiness. Holiness is a decrease in sin and an increase in virtue. That is what gets us to heaven. Holiness is our primary vocation.

There have been many very holy people who have also been very wealthy. Wealth and salvation are not mutually exclusive. Benedictine and Cistercian monks and nuns are not beggars and contrary to popular belief and what Hollywood would have us believe, they don't even make a vow of poverty. They vow stability, obedience and ongoing conversion. The Benedictine monks at LaTrobe, Pennsylvania used to be the biggest land owners in the entire state. They conform their lives to Christ in other ways and never place wealth before God, never serve mammon to the exclusion of God, but instead see themselves as stewards of the land. Monks are great "lovers of the place" and practice great hospitality. Go knock on the door of a monastery in the middle of the night and tell them you need a place to sleep and you will see what I mean.

I can tell you as a direct answer to your question, for me personally, I go further than the precepts of the Church not because I want to avoid the pains of purgatory, but because I love Jesus. We can all embrace the evangelical counsels to some extent and as our condition in life allows. We can all try to more closely imitate Christ. I don't do so however, because I want to avoid purgatory in some way, although that would be good, but becuase I love Jesus enough to want to please him and be like him.

For me it's not about avoiding punishment like in the Old Testament.

-Tim-


#19

[quote="TimothyH, post:18, topic:335822"]

(Snip)

I can tell you as a direct answer to your question, for me personally, I go further than the precepts of the Church not because I want to avoid the pains of purgatory, but because I love Jesus. We can all embrace the evangelical counsels to some extent and as our condition in life allows. We can all try to more closely imitate Christ. I don't do so however, because I want to avoid purgatory in some way, although that would be good, but becuase I love Jesus enough to want to please him and be like him.

For me it's not about avoiding punishment like in the Old Testament.

-Tim-

[/quote]

AMEN Tim....

We are told in the OT that Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom...
but in the NT we are taught that it is LOVE that drives out fear and this is our goal.

Ultimately - Purgatory is not about what we do or do not do...Rather it is about who we ARE in our hearts. Who do we belong to. Is it God - or is it something else?

Peace
James


#20

[quote="JRKH, post:19, topic:335822"]
AMEN Tim....

We are told in the OT that Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom...
but in the NT we are taught that it is LOVE that drives out fear and this is our goal.

Ultimately - Purgatory is not about what we do or do not do...Rather it is about who we ARE in our hearts. Who do we belong to. Is it God - or is it something else?

Peace
James

[/quote]

It occured to me just now that we say as much in the act of contrition when we confess. We say that we are sorry for our sins because we fear the pain of Hell but mostly because it offends Jesus whom we should love above all else.

-Tim-


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