Inherit eternal life!

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel we read how a man, approached Jesus, and asked him what was he to do, to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him that he was to obey the commandments and the man replied that he was already observing them all. Jesus tells him that one thing remains. He instructed him to give all his riches to the poor and follow him. This was too much for the man. He left saddened.

It could be that this Gospel reading, makes us feel uncomfortable about the money that we have and all material riches that we possess. On the other hand, it gives us the opportunity to think about how we use our wealth. Do we help others? How important is our wealth to us? Let us reflect not only on the wealth that we possess, but also on our attitude of gaining more and more fortunes. Jesus does not condemn a person for being rich. In fact, when Jesus looked at the man, Jesus “loved him.” Jesus warns about how we make use of this capital, and the importance we attach to it. Material possessions and wealth can make us happy, however when the acquisition of wealth becomes a priority in our lives, it could very well rob us of true joy. In this case it will be the riches which control us and not the other way round! Everlasting happiness is only found in God’s love and us serving others. In the end, when we face judgement, we will not be asked for our bank books and a list of assets which we own, but we can only show what we did for others and how much we have progressed in our relationship with God. 

Jesus knows that money and material riches attract us in a big way. In fact, he says that “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” This temptation can very well make us loose track of the real purpose of life: to live as sons and daughters of God. 

This Gospel alludes to material wealth. However, it can make us reflect on anything which comes between us and God. The first commandment states, ‘I am the Lord your God, you shall not have other gods before me.’ Where does our heart lie? Jesus is not expecting us to give all that we own, instead he wants us to love God and our neighbour and remove all that is keeping us from honouring this duty.

A reading from the Gospel of Mark (Mk 10, 17-30) 

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honour your father and your mother.”  

He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”  The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, 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 one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.  All things are possible for God.”  

Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.”  Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. How important are money and material wealth, to you? Do you work to live, or do you live to work, so that you become more and more prosperous?
  4. If money and wealth are not your god, is there something else which is holding back your relationship with God? Remember, how Jesus looked with love at the man, he looks at you with this same look of love. Jesus does not condemn you; he wants to help. Remember that what is impossible for you, is not impossible for God, “all things are possible for God.” God wants to help you change and remove all obstacles which are distancing you from him.
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare:
    i. The Bible reading from St Mark (Mk 10,17-30)
    ii. A candle
    iii. Cover the table with a green clot
    iv. A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested)
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  8. Be creative 😊
  9. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family

Today, Jesus meets a rich man. Let us see what this man is going to ask Jesus, and how Jesus replies.

  • Jesus wants us to be his best friends
  • It is not always easy to be best friends with Jesus
  • Jesus wants us to share what we have
  • Children’s favourite packets of sweets
  • Envelope
  • Paper and pencil

Note to parents: before starting this activity, prepare the note which you will then put in the envelope. On it, write the place where the children can find all the packets of sweets, except one, which will be used in the beginning. 

You have a packet of sweets, which you like. (give them the packet which was kept for this part)

Here is an envelope. You may have the envelop and whatever is in it if you give back the packet of sweets. You cannot have both, you either hold on to your packet of sweets, or you take the envelope.

If they gave up their sweets, say: That’s a very good choice, because in the envelope you have a note saying where you can find many more packets of sweets!

If they want to keep their sweets, say: That’s a real pity, because if you gave me your packet of sweets, you would have received more than one packet of sweets!

This is what happened to the man in today’s Gospel. This man did not have a packet of sweets, instead he was very rich. Jesus did not have sweets to give to this man, but something far better. However, this man did not want to give up what he owned. He loved his money and riches. Though he wanted to be Jesus’ friend too. Jesus knew that the money was very important for this man and that it was interfering with this man becoming his friend. The man chose the money and not friendship with Jesus.

Jesus knew that this was not an easy choice for this man. However, he also knew, that if this man really wanted to become his friend, God would have given him the strength to give his money to the poor. It was like the choice you had to make earlier. It was not easy to give up the packet of sweets and to take the envelope instead. You could do this, because you knew that your parents love you and they want to make you happy. You trust your parents. This man would have done the same, had he trusted God and if he had known that when he gave up his money, God would give him something which was much better.

Jesus does not want us to give all that we have and give it to others, but he does want us to share what we have. Do you know that to do this, you do not only have to give money and toys to those in need? If you know how to draw, you can make cards and give them to someone, whom you know and who does not receive birthday and Christmas cards. If your grandparents love talking with you, call them, instead of watching television or playing. You can also help at home, without being asked. Can you think of other things which you can do?

Soon, it will be Christmas. Do you enjoy receiving presents? In Malta there are children who do not receive gifts. During Christmas time, there are organisations which collect money and toys, for these children. Speak with your parents and make a promise, of giving up one of your presents to give it to these children. Jesus knows that this will be difficult for you, however, Jesus asked us to pray to God for courage to do what is difficult. So, start praying from today, and ask for courage to share what you have with others.

Sign of the cross.

Thank you, Jesus, for teaching us how much God loves us and how much God helps us to do good things, when these are difficult to do. Thank you for all that we have, give us the courage to love others and share with them, all the things that we have.

To praise God, sing, My God is so big.

In today’s Gospel, a man approaches Jesus and asks him what he ought to do, to inherit eternal life.

  • We should always do what pleases God
  • A cardboard box
  • Wrapping paper
  • Decorations for the box
  • Coloured paper
  • A pencil

When the man asked Jesus, what he was to do to inherit eternal life, what did Jesus reply? (he was to obey the commandments)

The man replied that he was already doing just that. How does Jesus react? Does Jesus praise him and tell him that he would surely inherit eternal life or did he ask him to do something else? (Jesus asked the man to sell all his wealth and give the money to the poor)

What did the man do? Did he obey Jesus? (no)

Why do you think, the man did not obey Jesus? (he did not want to give all his money and wealth to the poor)

How did the man feel when he left? (sad)

Today, Jesus teaches us that money and wealth could become more important to us, than loving God and obeying him. Think about how you spend your days. First describe one of your weekdays … start from waking up, until you go back to bed (help the children as necessary)

Now describe how you generally spend the time from Saturday evening to Sunday, when you go to bed at night.

During these days, did you go to Mass? Did you spend time in prayer? Did you read the Bible?

Did you go to catechetical meetings?

Did you help at home? Did you help others?

Or was your time spent at school, at the football nursery, going for singing and dancing lessons, and other similar things, doing your homework and playing?

There is nothing wrong in doing these things. However, Jesus tells us, that we might give these activities too much importance. You may come to believe that it is more important for you to go to the football nursery and for dancing lessons, rather than attend your catechetical meetings; or else that on Sunday you do not go to Mass, because you go out as a family. Jesus knows that it is not always easy to choose what is right. That is why he says that “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle”! Jesus knows that these activities attract us and that it is difficult to say no, even when these take up the time we can spend with Jesus, and helping others.

When your parents receive their salary, they invest part of it, so that later on they have more money than they originally invested. When we give importance to our time with God, when during the day, we pray, we go to Mass, we go for our catechetical meetings, we read the Bible, we help others, and give money to the poor, we would be investing our time, so that in the future we gain eternal life.

Did you ever watch a film, where they put their precious objects in a beautiful box … a treasure chest? All the good things which we do, are like these precious objects, and God keeps them in our treasure box, so that one day we can exchange them for everlasting life. In today’s activity, we are going to do a treasure chest. Cover the box with wrapping paper and decorate it to resemble a treasure chest. Think about all the good things you did during this week, and which pleased God. Write them down on the colour strips of paper and put them in your treasure chest. Put the box in your room. Every week, or more often if you wish, think about all your good deeds. Write them down on strips of paper and put them in the box. Slowly you will start filling the box and you will be doing the exact opposite of the man in the Gospel. That man did now want to give what he owned, however when you give up your time to know God and to help others, and when you also give money to the poor, you would be obeying Jesus. 

Whilst doing this activity, listen to, Treasure quest.

Sign of the Cross

This week we celebrated the feast of St Francis. This saint has a prayer which shows us what we are to do to inherit eternal life. We will only manage to do all this with God’s help, because “all things are possible for God.”

You may find St Francis’ prayer, here.

Coming soon.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.