8th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1Pet 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.
Gospel: Mk 10:17-27
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; honor 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 men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
What must I do to inherit eternal life? :The young man had a lot of possession to enjoy his worldly life, but desired also to inherit eternal life. He knows that observing the 10 commandments is fundamental to this purpose and has been following them. He is eager to know what is still lacking. To be perfect, Jesus recommends that he disposes his possession, make use of the proceeds for the benefit of the poor, and follow him. Without emptying oneself of attachment to material possessions and thus creating free space, one cannot be filled with spiritual treasures. Concern for the other, especially the poor is a prerequisite to follow Jesus. It is in self-emptying that one becomes enriched with the gift of true discipleship. The search of the man in the Gospel is a subject of the timeless search of humanity and the answer of Jesus is valid for all ages.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to inherit eternal life by detaching myself from worldly possessions and following you whole heartedly.
CONVERSION IS A RADICAL CHOICE: The longing in the heart of the rich young man confirms St. Augustine of Hippo’s dictum: “you have made us for yourself oh! Lord, restless is our heart until it rests in you.” While the young man seems to have what the world could consider as requisite for happiness, he is not happy. The invitation to abandon himself totally to Christ is a radical call that startles him. He needs to be detached from his material security. This is a difficult choice, but fundamental to his happiness. The desire to be truly happy, in the absence of total trust in God, is impossible to realize. Like marriage, which is a letting-go process, the choice for God is radical. One must opt to let go their bad ways completely and take upon their new status. The forgiven sinner seeking righteousness must fervently turn to God, loathe sin with passion and stand firm in the ways of God. We must examine the circumstances that could pull us back to our sinful past and resolve to defeat them, or avoid them in entirety. This could be painful, but it is the joy of conversion: a radical break with the sinful past.