Jesus proclaims the Good News of the Kingdom and helps all kinds of needy people. Those who give up everything to follow him will inherit the Kingdom and its assets and riches.
While Jesus is setting out on a journey, an unidentified man runs up to him. As it turns out, the man is one of those who have done everything according the law. In particular, he is someone whose love for God translates into effective love of the neighbor (see SV.EN XI:32). Yet he still wonders if following the law in everything is enough.
And Jesus does not put in doubt his observance of everything that the commandments ask. Rather, he lovingly looks at the one whose haste and gesture of respect and humility reflect sincerity. The man is clearly not testing him as did those who asked about divorce.
And so, the Teacher, who brings fulfillment to the law and the prophets, wants the man not to lack anything. Wishing him everything instead, Jesus invites him. He tells him to sell everything he has, and give to the poor, in order to have treasure in heaven. More importantly, Jesus adds, “Come, follow me,” for one enters the Kingdom through him, not through one’s poverty. It is true, of course, that wealth often becomes a hindrance.
No doubt, Jesus’ invitation shows how much and how truly he loves the man. And Jesus loves and invites us also.
The ball is now in our court. Are we ready to give up everything for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel?
Do we react as sadly as the man with an urgent question? Is there anything that we put ahead of Jesus? Is our greed for wealth, power and control over others holding us back? Does not such greed make us betray the Church? Do we hurry to go to Jesus? Does he excite us as the love of our youth does, so that we vow to be faithful to the end? To total surrender even to death in love, the total love we recall at the Eucharist?
Needless to say, we have to ask ourselves hard and honest questions. We need to examine ourselves in the light of God’s living and effective Word. God’s Word is, moreover, the Wisdom at whose hands are countless riches. It is to Jesus we need to go if we are to find the treasure buried in the field. Or the pearl of great price. To have such treasure or pearl, one sells everything.
Lord Jesus, make possible for us to give up everything in order to inherit the Kingdom. Help us understand that we cannot better assure our eternal happiness than by living and dying in the service of the poor, in the arms of Providence, truly renouncing ourselves to follow you (SV.EN III:384).
14 October 2018
28th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Wis 7, 7-11; Heb 4, 12-13; Mk 10, 17-30