St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

The Gospel of today (Monday, May 25, 2015) is about poverty of spirit as the way to happiness.

 

Mark 10.17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ The man said to Jesus, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

 

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another,  “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Jesus says: “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were perplexed: Does it mean that the rich cannot go to Heaven? Is that it? But Jesus said to them again “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus clarifies: it is not mainly about actually having more, but about putting your trust in riches. It is what happens when people think that happiness is about having money, or talents, or success, or health, etc. They think: “If I have these things, I will be happy, if I do not, I can’t be happy.”

 

This can happen even to people who are actually poor. They may envy those who have more, and they may be always trying to get more and more: they trust in riches, they think that happiness is about having more. This applies also to success, pleasures, health, etc. All good things, certainly, but not enough to make you happy.

 

That is why the disciples understand that Jesus is speaking also about them. “Then who can be saved?” We also experience in ourselves a drive to possess more and more, we also feel that it is impossible, or at least very difficult to be happy if we do not have this or that. Can we be saved, if we also trust in riches? The answer of Jesus is: “For mortals is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” That means that to be a Christian is really a miracle of God. A miracle that in simple people like you happens maybe everyday.

 

The proof that the way to happiness is poverty is the rich man of today’s Gospel. He is asking for the way to happiness because he thinks that he is still not happy. He has fulfilled the commandments, he has everything a man can desire in life, but he still feels that something is missing. Nothing on earth can give happiness, he wants more. The answer of Jesus is: what you want is God, get rid of the rest and you will find him.

 

May the Lord give us the grace to put our trust in him, and not so much in riches of this world. May we find more time for him in our lives, may we love him more. –Fr. Andrew