“I prayed, and prudence was given to me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.” (Wisdom 7:7)
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 10, 2021): WIS 7:7-11; PS 90:12-13,14-15,16-17; HEB 4:12-13; MK 10:17-30
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Jesus goes on to... compare the difficulty of a camel passing through the eye of a needle to a rich person entering the kingdom of God.
Today’s Gospel contains several significant statements from Jesus about what it means to enter the kingdom of God. And, as is often the case, He asks His listeners to understand things in a new and different way. When a rich man runs up and throws himself on his knees before Christ, we can almost hear him ask breathlessly: “‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus answered him, …You know the commandments. … 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” (Mark 10:17-21). Whatever this man thought Jesus would say, it could not have been this call to give away his wealth to the poor and follow Him. The loving expression on our Lord’s face and His invitation to become a disciple could not compete with the idea of losing all he owned. This has been called one of the saddest incidents in the Gospels and most of us would agree. The man who had rushed up to Christ, probably walked away slowly, burdened by the decision he had made and the treasure he sensed that he had lost.
Jesus goes on to teach His listeners about the power that wealth can have over people. He compares the difficulty of a camel passing through the eye of a needle to a rich person entering the kingdom of God. This memorable phrase shows the impediment of wealth as well as other worldly attachments that we allow to control our lives. Since almost everyone at that time saw riches as a sign of God’s favor, they were amazed. Christ told them that they could not save themselves. Instead, but must rely on the Almighty. “All things are possible for God” (Mark 10:27). That rich man was not willing to trust the Son of God when He offered him everything for which he longed. It is the same choice each of us must make.