11th November 2018

“’Go, sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow Me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth” (Mark 10: 21-22).

 

Mark narrates the story of the rich young man who approached Jesus, running and kneeling before Him: he asked Jesus, “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” To this Jesus responded that he should keep the Commandments. But he had kept all these from his earliest years. So Jesus looked at him and loved him and then said to him: “’Go, sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow Me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.” The rich young man was sincere, zealous about his faith and desired to enjoy eternal life in the here-after but only one thing stood in his way. He was too attached to his wealth. This explains why his face dropped and “he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth” (Mark 10: 22) on hearing those words from Jesus. He was not only a man of great wealth but of great attachment too. What an anti-climax! What could have caused a young man, who came to Jesus with so much earnestness and profound humility to turn and walk away from Jesus refusing to choose His option? Could it be fear of the unknown? Was he overwhelmed by a deep sense of insecurity? This is the force or the pull of attachment. This is the danger of believing in material wealth as an irreplaceable source of security. This is the danger we often let ourselves be trapped in. Jesus’ heart must have dropped at this choice that He uttered those eternal words: “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10: 23). Do not mistake that Jesus is condemning riches and wealth for He is not. It is the wrong attitude, the “love of riches” that is the problem here. Attachment to material things in general is a sign of lack of faith in God. It impedes one’s ability to surrender, let go and trust God to provide all our needs. But the truth about holding on is that we never get anything new so long as we hold on to the old. Therefore, each of us is called to detach in order to attach. What is it that we need to detach from? What do we need to let go?

May the Lord grant us the grace to be blessed with His riches and to always acknowledge Him, the Source of every good wealth, as greater and always to be preferred to everything else. Amen.