Monday, May 28, 2018

“You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly. — Henry David Thoreau: (1817 –1862: was an American essayist, poet, & philosopher)

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."

Why is it hard “for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God”? The Church does not teach that human wealth is evil in and of itself. While some mistakenly think that Scripture says that money is the root of all evil, the correct quote from Saint Paul is that “the love of money is the root of all evils” [1 Timothy 6:10]. Nonetheless, that begs the question: what is it about the love of money that turns the wealthy away from the Kingdom of God?

The Church teaches that pride is chief among the seven “capital sins”. The “love of money” must directly relate to pride. Human wealth tempts the wealthy person to sin against both God and neighbor: against the former because the wealthy person is tempted to feel no need for God; against the latter because the wealthy person is tempted to feel superior to the neighbor with less human wealth. Money is enticing because so many different things can be possessed and accomplished by it. But as with every material thing, money is meant to offer the Christian opportunities to serve both God and man.

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