A reading from the gospel according to Mark 10:17-27:
17 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?”
18 Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
19 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.”
20 He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
21 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.”
22 At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!”
24 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!
25 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.”
26 They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
Reflection: Attachment to worldly treasure
The man in our gospel reading is rich for he had many possessions but he is insecure and therefore unhappy. He claims to follow all the commandments. Yet, in his heart, he is not sure whether he is going to be saved. He must have felt something is lacking. So, when he heard about Jesus passing by, he ran up to him and in all humility, he asked what he needs to do to gain eternal life.
Jesus told the man to the effect that it is not enough to follow all the commandments. It is important that he empty himself and serve the poor. The rich man cannot do this so he went home sad.
You cannot serve two masters, Jesus says in Matthew 6:24. The rich man wanted to have eternal life but he cannot afford to let go of his possessions. Between eternal life and worldly possessions, he chose the latter. Clearly, it is his attachment to wealth that prevented him from having real happiness and from gaining eternal life.
It is God’s design for all of us to have eternal life with Him. There is also no question that He wants everyone to be satisfied and happy. Yet because of our choices, we have become unhappy and insecure. Many of us choose worldly possessions rather than God who is the real source of happiness. May we learn to let go of everything in order to gain everything. That is the paradox of a happy and secure life.
For further reflection, go here.