Jesus reveals that those attached to riches are unlikely to enter Heaven. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Generosity so he can more consistently share his abundance with the poor and by living by the Virtue of Vindication so he can hold himself accountable to God for sins against The 10 Commandments.
28th Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle B – Mk 10:17-30
After revealing the need for childlike humility, Jesus encounters the opposite: The Rich Man. The Rich Man rushes up and kneels before Jesus and asks, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus, knowing the Rich Man lacks faith and humility, bluntly reacts and coldly redirects him towards The 10 Commandments, omitting those which focus on God. Responding, the Rich Man confirms his lack of humility (who keeps “all” the Commandments?) and faith (fails to mention God). Preferring his worldly possessions over God, the Rich Man refuses Jesus’ merciful invitation and leaves in sadness.
Jesus confirms it is difficult for the rich to enter Heaven. First amazed, then astonished, and now panicked, the disciples’ worry about their own fate and ask, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus gazes intently at the disciples with a hint of dismay, perhaps in frustration for their unbelief, and replies, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Still worried, Peter, speaking for the Apostles, says, “Lo, we have given up everything and followed you”, but like the Rich Man, they still lack humility (Mk 9:34) and faith (Mk 8:32).
Jesus warns of the persecutions that come with discipleship, but reveals those who sacrifice possessions and family for the sake of His Gospel will be rewarded in the present age, and with eternal life. In the rewards, Jesus slips in “persecutions”, a revelation and warning that suffering will come, but will ultimately be recognized as blessings (the Cross). Summing things up, Jesus confirms “the first” (Rich Man) will be last, and “the last” (the Apostles) will be first.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by the chance to hear Jesus, with Divine Knowledge and the perfection of Justice, reveal the truth about men and their salvation: as the Son of God, Jesus has Divine Knowledge through which He mysteriously reveals the challenges and outcomes of the salvation of men; He reveals that each man is subject to Vindication by God (a part of Justice by which punishments and rewards are given appropriate for a man’s thoughts and behaviors), some who cling to materialism and fail to be generous will be punished (not allowed into Heaven) while those who generously sacrifice for Jesus will receive both temporal (in this life) and eternal rewards.
Be generous to the poor from your abundance
Realize: Men living in modern societies enjoy incredible wealth, often times vastly exceeding the wealth of the Rich Man, wealth which extravagantly exceeds the very real poverty of the billions of desperately poor people around the world.
Believe: Reflect upon Poverty of the Heart (CCC 2544-2547, 2559).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Poverty, help me build the Virtue of Generosity (a part of Justice) so I recognize the abundance You have given me, I turn from personal greed and the desire for more material things, and I give generously to alleviate the suffering of those who are desperately poor.
Be accountable to God for sins against His 10 Commandments
Realize: The Rich Man’s false and arrogant claim to have kept “all the commandments” is because he had a poorly formed moral conscience that kept him from seeing the reality of his obvious sinfulness.
Believe: Reflect upon Moral Conscience and the Examination of Conscience (CCC 1454, 1776-1789).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Vindication (a part of Justice) so I develop a well-formed conscience based on Your 10 Commandments, I regularly hold myself accountable through a thorough examination of conscience, and frequently seek Your forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.