True Wealth

Mark 10: 17-27
1 Pt 1: 3-9/ Ps 111: 1-2, 5-6, 9-10

It is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
(Mark 10:25)

As I ponder life’s mystery,
Its deepest question comes to me:
What good would all earth’s riches be
If I should fail Eternity?

Jesus was about to set out on His journey when a man ran up to ask 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 laws.” And Jesus enumerated them. “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus then lovingly told him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” At that his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had great possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!… It is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” His disciples were astonished, and they asked Him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus replied, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:17-27)

Reflection

This Gospel narrative gives us pause to reflect: What is our greatest treasure in life? Isn’t it ironic that the greatest treasure we can have is the very thing that most people are afraid to acquire because they refuse to give up lesser treasures that corrode and corrupt? Observe that rich young man. Jesus saw the goodness in his heart, looked at him lovingly, and offered him His fellowship. Only a few among thousands that followed our Lord were given the same invitation. Jesus even hinted that He was indeed God when He said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” And yet he could not give up his temporal wealth in exchange for eternal prosperity, even if that was what he said he was seeking in the first place.

Why is it “easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle” than for rich people to earn a place in God’s kingdom? It is because excessive wealth is the strongest drug of addiction that can imprison a man’s spirit. Jesus clearly marked the boundaries of earthly wealth and His kingdom when He said, “No one can serve two masters… you cannot serve both God and mammon.” (Mt. 7:24) In fact the very first prohibition in the Ten Commandments of God is: “Thou shall not have strange gods before me.” In most cases, rich people put more importance on their wealth before God. They play golf, poker, ‘sabong’ or other recreational activities rather than go to Sunday mass.

With these thoughts in mind, we can indeed be grateful to God, and pray, “Thank You, Lord that You have not allowed me to become rich and powerful.” A passage in the book of Proverbs says, “…give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is enough for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” (Prov.30:8-9) At this age (65), I have come to realize that true wealth is having genuine friends, being in good physical condition, free from any infirmity, and enjoying the love of wife, children and relatives. The least I can do to reciprocate these blessings from God is to be active in my renewal community. Scripture says, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1Pet 5:2-3).

Your blessings are more precious than the fleeting pleasures of wealth, and Your Spirit satisfies the deepest longing in my heart… Lord Jesus, You are my greatest treasure. Amen.

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