“Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful.” (Mark 10:21-22)
In today’s Gospel passage, a young man walked away from Jesus sad because he could not bring himself to the point of selling all he had and giving that to the poor in other to follow Jesus.
Why did this young man come to Jesus? He had inherited riches from his parents and he wanted to know how he would also inherit eternal life. This young man loved his riches a lot, but he feared that these riches would not last forever. He came to Jesus desiring to know how to enjoy these riches for eternity.
At first, Jesus simply asked him to keep the commandments of God. This means that our observance of the commandments is enough to inherit eternal life. The young man bragged about observing all of them since his youth. If indeed he had kept all of God’s commandments, why then was he worried about attaining eternal life? Deep within him, he still felt something was missing. He had a feeling of emptiness that no riches could fill.
The honest truth is that riches bring a lot of happiness and security but there is a certain extent to which the continuous increase in riches no longer affects one’s state of happiness. The happiness that riches bring is not equal to the happiness that comes when you genuinely seek to touch the lives of others for good. There is great happiness in putting smiles in the faces of others who would never be able to reciprocate your kindness.
Jesus wanted this young man to taste true happiness. Jesus wanted to cure him of his inner feeling of emptiness so Jesus asked him to give away his riches, in other words, Jesus wanted him to build treasures in heaven; to no longer place his security on passing things. Unfortunately, the young man walked away sad.
Child of God, do not make greed your religion. If God has blessed you, no matter how small, give something to the poor. Help to make someone’s life better. The happiness that comes with putting joy in people’s lives is unquantifiable. This happiness is capable of curing our physical ailments and diseases. It makes our world a better place.
In today’s first reading, St. Peter commends the genuine faith of his audience: “Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.” (1 Peter 1:8) The book of Hebrews defines faith as the assurance of things not seen and the evidence of things hoped for. (Heb. 11:1).
The secret of faith is that you don’t have to see to believe but when you believe, you begin to see what you had hoped for. Believe me, if you live in abundance and you desire a life of bliss, stop loving your wealth, use it to help the poor around you, be kind to the less privileged.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to re-order my priorities, to work not only for worldly wealth but more importantly for eternal life. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 Peter 1:3-9, Ps. 111:1-2,5-6,9-10, Mark 10:17-27).