Lecture Four: Chapter One: The Pope’s use of the story of the rich young man


Study Questions

1. In the story of the encounter of Christ with the rich young man we find the basis for the traditional distinction between the commandments and the counsels.  In what ways do the counsels (poverty, chastity, obedience) go beyond the requirements of the commandments?

2. What does this story suggest about the connection between living in accord with morality in this life and the eternal life that is to come?

3. How does John Paul II interpret the choice of the rich young man to come to Christ with his questions?  What significance does he see in the passage for readers of the Gospel down through the ages?


Suggestions for further reading:

John Rist, Real Ethics: Reconsidering the Foundations of Morality. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Servais Pinckaers, The Sources of Christian Ethics. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1995.

Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis. Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word: Meditations on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. Vol. 1.  San Francisco: Ignatius, Press, 1996.