Gospel Mk 10:17-30
“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
The story recounted in today’s Gospel reading is one that we are no doubt familiar with. Here the rich young man, a good bloke by the sounds of it, approaches Jesus asking ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’
Something deep within him seems to drive him to want go beyond a merely moralistic adherence to the law. Here he encounters Christ and is drawn to something more. As Pope John Paul II observed, ‘For the young man, the question is not so much about rules to be followed, but about the full meaning of life.’ (JPII, Veritatis Splendor, 7).
While he rightly intuits that the eternal destiny of man is connected to the moral life – the rich young man is conscious that there must be something more that corresponds to the deepest desires of his heart. And so he approaches Jesus, the One who had begun his preaching with this new and decisive proclamation about the time being fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God being now at hand (Cf. Mk 1:15).
Jesus’ call to ‘sell everything you have and give to the poor,’ and, ‘follow me’ is a real challenge to this man, not because he is living an objectively bad life, but because his relative wealth affords him a comfort that he does not want to risk.
For many of us today, the comfort which our relative wealth affords us often prevents us from allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to experience true love – to risk all in our efforts to follow Christ.
The rich man goes away sad, and his is a sadness we might share in lest we take up the invitation to boldly risk all on account of love.
As John Paul II elsewhere reflects on the challenging words of Christ, ‘[a]re we to fear the severity of these words, or rather have confidence in their salvific content, in their power?’ (JPII 8 Oct 1980).
Let us pray for the grace to risk all on account of love.