Rich in Grace

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home child holding globe

October 14, 2018 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 10:17-30

It seems like commercials involving financial advice or investment are on TV all day long. Of course, money is important as is wise use of it. In fact, today’s gospel might be thought of as a lesson in fiscal wisdom. Jesus himself offers us today a lesson in divine economics. The title of his presentation might be this: How can we invest wisely so as to insure our future happiness? Most of us know this gospel. Maybe that’s because money matters seem to stick with us. Money talks, we say.

Recall the highlights of the story. A good man of some means came to Jesus wanting to know what he might do to be a better person. He wanted to be more involved in the Kingdom of God that Jesus was initiating. Let’s say that he wanted to get in “on the ground floor.” He already knew about the ways of the world. He also wanted to know about God’s ways.

 

Jesus was drawn to his concern. So he laid it all out for him in terms that the man could easily grasp. He said that if he really wanted to be a part of this opportunity that Jesus offered, he would have to take action right away. So, in a word sometimes heard in financial quarters, “sell!” Sell everything! Give whatever money you have to the poor. Empty your bank account and empty your pockets. Then, freed of financial worries and concerns, you can come and be aligned with Jesus and his way of living.

Ouch, the man probably responded. I’ve got property, securities, bonds, bank accounts, a yacht in the Mediterranean and even a good amount of money hidden under some rocks in case the banks in Jerusalem and Rome fail. I can’t give up all that. I’ve spent years earning it. So, he would have to pass on the offer of Jesus. He was sorry. So was Jesus.

So what’s the point? Are we all to follow the example of both St. Francis of Assisi and St. Ignatius Loyola and give away everything, including the clothes on our back and follow Jesus? Is this what Jesus demands of each of us?

Not exactly. Unless, of course, you feel that is what God asks of you. Jesus simply wants this rich man to be free enough to truly hear and respond to God in his life. Apparently, the man was so tied down by his riches, he shut God out of his life. We all have financial responsibilities. We need enough money to take care of them. Yet all the rest is unnecessary. Keep God first and you will be rich beyond measure.

©David M. Thomas, PhD