The Gospel of this Sunday is in the form of dialogue. A young man runs to Jesus very dramatically. He should be in some emergency – this is the first impression we get from his action.
To the next step he addresses Jesus as the ‘Good Master’. Jesus is not at all appreciating this addressing. He expresses his dislike by saying: only God alone is good. Jesus wants to avoid possible conflicts with the Jews, by placing himself equal to the goodness God.
The further dialogues shows that the young man really wants something – to inherit the Eternal Life. He is in need of this as, his observations of laws and rituals are not giving him complete joy and peace.
Jesus has only one thing to advice the young man:
if he wants to be complete, then he has to submit his life totally to God.
This was an unexpected reply from Jesus – he might have thought that Jesus will be pleased in hearing that he observes laws and rituals. He might have thought that he can influence Jesus and “get” the Eternal life,
just as some others ‘got’ their healings and more…
This reply of Jesus – to give up everything – was really awesome as he was very rich. He thought he could get the eternal life just as he accumulated his riches. There are so many people in our world having such thinking pattern. They think they can have anything with their money and influence,
which is a wrong concept.
In the Gospel we can see it is not the money itself that becomes a villain. Even though Jesus adds that it is difficult for rich people to get into the kingdom of God, we see so many rich and influential people such as Matthew (a tax collector turned to an Apostel), Zacchaeus, Jairus, Nathanael, Mary Mag’dalene, Joan’na, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others (Lk 8, 1-3) – are really following Jesus and entering in to the Kingdom of God. That means it is not the money or possession that is against the Kingdom of God. It is the attachment that becomes the real issue.
The young man was attached to his possessions so much. He wanted to get more and more. And the attachment grew only. So he wanted to attach the ‘Eternal life’ too to his attachments and Possessions where he fails.
He fails, while he fails to detach from the possessions.
This is applicable not only to the rich but to all.
If so, “who can be saved” (v 26) – this question of disciples has only one answer.
Any one who can detach from his earthly possessions can be saved.
If one desires for the eternal life, God must be his possession and he must be attached to God and divine matters.
That is why Jesus warns us: one cannot serve both God and Mammon at the same time (Mt 6, 24). If one’s heart and likes are divided, he will not find joy in both.
Wealth and possessions are good. We need them for our daily life and dealings. But they cannot promise us complete joy.
If not, why many of famous stars and celebrities committing suicide.
Are they lacking money or pleasures or any materials they want?
Yes, riches and possessions and positions may give us incomplete pleasures.
The complete and remaining joy is attained in God alone.
Is that not the same that we heard in the first reading from the wisdom (7, 7-11): The author considers WISDOM greater than any worldly powers or Gold and silver or Health or beauty…He prays for Wisdom only, which can provide everything.
The young man had everything except the wisdom.
So he lacks the joy and serenity; he also misses the call of Jesus for it.
Are these words of scripture making any change in our attitudes?
Do we feel the word as two-edged sword as we read in Hebrews 4, 12-13 in the second reading?
If we are disturbed by these words,
then there is a change needed and it is not too late.
Let us possess God and his Wisdom and Grace more than any thing.
Let us be attached to God first so that we can enjoy the Joy of Eternal life.
God Bless us all. Amen!
– Fr Thomas Kalathil