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.