Weekend Reflection – for you. Aidan Troy, C.P. - just my view!
Wealth or riches are not bad or sinful in themselves. Before the coming of Jesus, wealth and riches were seen as signs of God’s blessing. For instance, recently at daily Mass the First Reading traced the story of Job. When he was wealthy, he was considered as greatly blessed. When he lost everything, he was thought to have sinned in some serious way.
Yet, Jesus in the Beatitudes told us, “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God” [Luke Chap. 6: 20] It is interesting that this is first beatitude that Jesus spoke. He must have seen it as important. Luke reports Jesus, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” [Luke: 9:58] He was homeless once He left Nazareth to gather disciples.
This tiny background given above may help us to pray about the story in St Mark’s Gospel today. Jesus is setting out on a journey and this man doesn’t want to miss becoming a dedicated follower. So, he runs to meet Jesus. He kneels before him. He puts a question to Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” It strikes me that this is a good person on a search for something. He didn’t yet know that he was really searching for Someone, namely, Jesus.
The fact that the man before Jesus in this story has no name, seems to be deliberate – it is any woman or any man looking for ‘more’. If this is true, what a lovely reception we get when we approach Jesus:
- Jesus looks steadily at us
- Jesus loves us
- Jesus says, ‘There is one thing you lack’.
The man was attached to his wealth and that was where his heart was. He did not have any idea that following Jesus would involve giving all his heart to Him. This is tough. This is a good man who has kept the Commandments since the age of reason. No wonder his face fell and went away sad. He couldn’t let go and take the risk of following Jesus, the poor One.
This was for this man. What about me? And if you wish, what about you? When I took a religious vow of poverty many years ago, I surrendered the right to own property or have a personal bank account. Truthfully, that was not all that difficult. As a child, we lived in a rented house, we had no car and no riches, and I had few possessions to give up.
Does this leave me able to follow Jesus as He would wish me? NO! Over the years I have often held onto my own will, not God’s. That is like a halter around my neck preventing me from being free. It is only when my reliance on Jesus is as near to total as possible, will I be able to follow Him as he wishes.
A preacher once asked the people at Mass to look around at a mirror at the back of the church. On it the priest had written, ‘This is your greatest treasure’. Our greatest treasure is not in a bank vault or in stocks and shares. Our greatest treasure is inside ourselves.
Just think about it:
- We are made in image of God
- We are temples of Holy Spirit
- We belong to Jesus’ family
- We’re destined for life eternal
- We are loved totally by God
If you want to do your own reflection on meeting Jesus as the man did in the Gospel, you will not be disappointed.