- As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to Him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”(Mk10:17-27). Taken from today’s gospel.
- Our present and future are often products of our past choices. When we make choices we must assume the consequences of our choices. Solomon in today’s first reading was asked by God to choose what he would like God to do for him. He chose wisdom and with wisdom riches, firm and honour came naturally to him as consequences of his good choice. In today’s gospel we are presented with a man who lacked the courage to choose what he longed to have.
- A rich man desired to have eternal life. Of his own free will he ran up to Jesus, knelt down before him and asked what he must choose so as to have a place in the kingdom of God. Jesus told him to keep doing what he has been taught from birth about pleasing God, namely the observance of the commandments. He told Jesus that he has no problem keeping the commandments and that he needed to do more. “I have done all these from my youth.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. But he also noticed that his obedience to the law lacks something. “You are lacking one thing, even though you observe the commandments, you are too attached to your riches. Now go, sell all you have, give the money to the poor and your heaven is assured. Then follow me.”
- Jesus has placed before him an opportunity to choose between his wealth and his ardent desire to spend eternity with God. The rich man was a man of great possession. How can he give them up for a kingdom that is not yet present? He chose to stick to his riches and give up his place in the kingdom of God. He went away sad. Yes, clinging to his riches made him sad but he still prefers what made him sad to what would have made him happy. That is the tragedy of making a wrong choice which we can observe in all who prefer to live in sin even when they know that abandoning sin will make them happy. Here was a man who wanted the kingdom but was not ready to give up his comfort for it. His decision made Jesus sad too leading him to make a strong statement about attachment to riches. “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus apparently knew that money is not an evil in itself. He worked and earned money as a carpenter, farmer and shepherd like his contemporaries. He enjoyed being invited to dine and wine with rich people. So the problem is not with money or being rich. The problem is allowing riches to come between a person and his choice of the kingdom.
- The rich man walked away. He was courageous to walk away. He made his stand clear to everyone. But among those following Jesus there were some who were like the rich man but they had no courage to walk away. One of such persons was Judas. He remained with Jesus and that made his case deadly. Like Judas many people who fill the churches today are supposed to have walked away in sorrow but they are there deceiving themselves. Such people still have choices to make: either to walk away today or change their ways. I will advise them not to walk away but to open their ears and hearts to Jesus and take steps to remove the attachment that is stopping them from being authentic followers of Christ.
- You are still lacking one thing. You should know that. Have you identified the obstacle that is preventing you from being ready for the kingdom? Is it your attachment to a person, place or thing which does not promote your friendship with Jesus? Is it your addiction to drug, wine, sex or pornography? Is it your attachment to fraud and unclear business deals? Is it your tendency to gossip and lies? Find out what you are lacking. Do not walk away from Jesus. Hold on to him and gradually but consistently detach yourself from what has been holding you down from moving towards the kingdom. ©Vita, 10/10/21.