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OCTOBER 10. Ord Time B. Wk 28. Sun. Mk 10. 17-30

Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.’ Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own 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.


Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, ‘My children,’ he said to them ‘how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were more astonished than ever. ‘In that case’ they said to one another ‘who can be saved?’ Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he said ‘it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.’


Peter took this up. ‘What about us?’ he asked him. ‘We have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.’


It is clear from this Gospel the young man was sincere and full of good intentions, and in approaching Jesus he was able to articulate everything necessary in order to inherit eternal life; and he ended his statement by saying ‘I have kept all these commandments since my youth!’


Jesus then reveals the opportunities which become available to any of his followers who are able to make such a statement; - and it is the road to holiness; - “Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me,” a reply that is still applicable today via the Universal Call to Holiness.


But these words need to be interpreted in accord with the mind of Christ, and in the way they have been understood by both the Church and the saints. Christ is pointing to the human heart, and to its desires! He is not telling the man who owns a house or a car to go and sell them, but rather we should not give our hearts to them, to love them, or become attached to them.


Sadly, this rich young man in the gospel did not appreciate the invitation he was being given; to be a follower of Jesus; - and his response indicates he did indeed “love” his possessions; - “his face fell at these words and he went away sad; - for he was a man of great wealth!” Jesus then reinforces the message, and invitation, he gave the man;- Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”


There is a powerful message here for all Christians; - that keeping the commandments is not enough if we wish to have an intimate relationship with Christ! We must also “love” nothing else; - a task that is not easy, as it involves abandoning all our personal desires; - and “loving” only the Will of God; - as this is where we meet the Cross and sacrifice our earthly attachments!


If any man has a mind to come my way let him deny himself, take up his Cross and follow me!’


Gospel Acclamation Matthew 5:3


Alleluia, alleluia!

Happy the poor in spirit;

the kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Alleluia!


First reading Wisdom 7:7-11 · I esteemed Wisdom more than sceptres or thrones


I prayed, and understanding was given me;

I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.

I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones;

compared with her, I held riches as nothing.

I reckoned no priceless stone to be her peer,

for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand,

and beside her silver ranks as mud.

I loved her more than health or beauty,

preferred her to the light,

since her radiance never sleeps.

In her company all good things came to me,

at her hands riches not to be numbered.







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