Jesus teaches by word and deed that we cannot serve God and money. Hence, to obsess about making money is to reject his teaching.
The man who draws to Jesus seems to obsess about being saved. For he runs up to him and quickly kneels down. Of course, he also acknowledges that the Teacher is good.
And Jesus makes him turn to God; no one is good but God alone. That is what Jesus does. He always points to God (see SV.EN XIIIa:91).
He also reminds the one who asks that it is God who says what is good (Mic 6, 8). So, those who obsess about being saved must, first of all, stand before God.
Before this good God, one has but to let oneself be cleansed, forgiven and sent (Is 6, 6-8). That is to say, those who obsess about their salvation have to see that they are sinners before God. But they should also cast their worries upon him (1 Pt 5, 7; Ps 55, 22). Though they are not to try to force him to do wonders to further their ambitions.
The one who can do what we cannot does care about us. In fact, his goodness matches our sinfulness (SV.EN:324; SV.EN V:166; SV.EN XI:130). Hence, we should not obsess about things (Mt 6, 25-32. 34). To believe and trust in God spells the end of obsessions.
If we cannot but obsess
Jesus also sets the commandments before the one who worries. But he only mentions those that ask us to treat others fairly and respect our fathers and mothers. It is as though he says that to love God, whom one does not see, means to love the neighbor whom one sees.
Besides, we cannot worry only about our salvation, but also about others’ salvation. No, “it is not enough for me to love God, if my neighbor does not love him” (SV.EN XII:215). And it is good to be open to others. For self-absorbed, and worried about our salvation, security, there is danger for us to get sick (EG 49). To get caught in a web of obsessions.
But the one who wants to know what to do to inherit eternal life has kept the commandments since his youth. No, he is not among those who hate God’s words (Ps 50, 16-20). Still, he hungers and thirst for something more. It looks like to obsess to do so as to have is not enough.
And Jesus loves him and invites him to fullness. He asks him to undo his life and get rid of his wealth to give to the poor. He will, then, have treasure in heaven; to have it there later is not to have it here now. He will, besides, be free to follow Jesus.
But the call gets turned down; the man who has run up to Jesus goes away sad. He does not like Jesus’ way of life. That of giving, of giving up the body even and shedding blood. Hence, the rich man will never learn true religion from the poor (SV.EN XI:190; SV.EN XII:142). He will not stop to obsess about things that will trouble him.
Lord Jesus, God’s Wisdom and Word, may we choose you over the kingdoms of the world. Do not let us obsess about them. We will thus be truly human, generous, caring, hopeful. So, too, shall we have a foretaste of God’s kingdom and justice. And all things will be given us a hundred times more.
10 October 2021
28th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Wis 7, 7-11; Heb 4, 12-13; Mk 10, 17-30