True charity requires courage: Let us overcome the fear of getting our hands dirty so as to help those in need - Pope Francis
Gospel Text: (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."
Today’s Gospel is one tough message. It’s not enough to just follow the Commandments. Jesus wants us to sell what we have and give it to the poor to enter heaven. He tells the apostles “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.”
It’s a tough message because how do we reconcile it with our striving for success – a good job, a nice salary, a better life for our children? We think how is that possible? How can I do that? Jesus knows it’s a tough message; he certainly gets feedback from the apostles who are astonished and mutter among themselves: “Then who can be saved?”
This message is about the spirit of the Gospel, not just the letter of the law. We are to love others as ourselves. That means doing what we can and perhaps more than we think we can for others. Jesus tells the apostles that it may be impossible for man, but with God all things are possible. We have to try, to take that first step in doing what we can for others. My favorite part of this Gospel comes right before Jesus delivers that tough message to the man seeking the way to the kingdom of heaven. Mark tells us that Jesus looked at the man, loved him and then said sell what you have.
We are loved in our imperfections, but we can’t stop there. We have to strive to become men and women for others, to make that the center of our lives, not the striving for material success.