Gospel, reflection and prayers: twenty-eight Sunday in ordinary time Year B, October 14th, 2012
Now as Jesus was starting out on his way, someone ran up to him, fell on his knees, and said, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” The man said to him, “Teacher, I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws since my youth.” Jesus looked steadily at him and he was filled with love for him and said, “You lack one thing. Go, sell whatever you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But at this statement, the man looked sad and went away sorrowful, for he was very rich.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were astonished at these words. But again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?”Jesus looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans, but not for God; all things are possible for God.”
Peter began to speak to him, “Look, we have left everything to follow you!”Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospelwho will not receive in this age a hundred times as much—homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, fields, all with persecutions–and in the age to come, eternal life.”
(Mark 10:17–30 NET)
The theme at the homily of the Mass was about treasure and where our treasure might be. The preacher had placed a mirror at the end of the church. He asked everyone to look in it and at the edge of the mirror was written – this is your greatest treasure. The rich man thought treasure was in wealth, and this made him sad. The wisdom of Jesus is that wealth is not the final happiness. Our biggest treasure is inside ourselves – each of us made in the image of God, by love and for love.
Does our culture today value the dignity of each person and the treasure that each person is? It’s good to have a good house – but sad that it takes up so much energy and expense. Does our hospital care for the elderly and for many others value the dignity and the treasure that each person is? Can we go into A & E and say all these people are treasures or just trolley holders? Do we still have schools and buildings which are substandard for our children?
Jesus looks at our world loves it and says – look after the poor, look after my people, they are the treasure. Look in the mirror and see everyone there, including yourself.
In any parish the best gift of God to the parish is its people, like in a school or any institution which gathers people together. The rush of life and a general self centredness can take the focus off the essential in communities and in people. The gospel today asks us to look in the right place for our true wealth and riches – in our giving of time and self to others in the sort of relationships of love which value the worth and dignity of all.
Let your face shine on us O Lord, that we may see your reflection in each other.
Donal Neary SJ