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.
8th Week in Ordinary Time – Monday – Mk 10:17-27
After revealing the need to be like a humble child, Jesus now 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’s lack of faith and humility, bluntly reacts, saying, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God alone.” Ironically, the man is in God’s presence but doesn’t realize it.
Jesus coldly directs the Rich Man to keep the Commandments. To test him, Jesus mentions parts of The 10 Commandments that focus only on neighbor (and not God). The arrogant man falsely claims to have kept “all” these commandments (who keeps “all” the commandments?), but fails to mention God, confirming Jesus’ insight about the man’s stunted spirituality. Merciful, Jesus tells the Rich Man to give away all his possessions and to “follow Me”, an invitation to give himself completely to God. Attached to his possessions and lacking true desire for God, the Rich Man refuses Jesus’ invitation and leaves in sadness.
Jesus confirms it is difficult for the rich to enter Heaven, saying, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 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 ignorance, and replies, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at the Presence and Personality of Jesus as He attempts to draw the Rich Man towards salvation: Jesus has a commanding Charisma which causes the man to kneel before Him; as He engages the Rich Man and the disciples, Jesus has a penetrating Gaze, His eyes looking deeply into the eyes and heart of those He speaks with, a Gaze which can be both encouraging and frightening; Jesus, who is always motivated by the perfection of Charity, feels Compassion/Empathy for the Rich Man and uses different influence styles to persuade the Rich Man, including Harsh responses to rebuke and test and Encouraging responses to guide him to right thinking and behavior.
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.