In the early days in Israel, being wealthy was then considered as being endowed and favored by Heaven. Thus, when people were poor, they thought that this was also a curse and a sign that Yahweh God is not pleased with them. In the Gospel, after Jesus answered the question “What must I do to have eternal life?”, the man went away sorrowful for he was with great wealth. The Lord emphasized the Commandments, and after following these, “Sell what you have and give the money to the poor and you will have riches in Heaven. Then come and follow me.”
Then the earth-shaking truth was told: “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were apparently taken aback, that Jesus has to repeat what He just said, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were more astonished and said among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” Peter reminded Him that they have given up everything. Then Jesus said, “Amen I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or childen or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Mk. 10: 17-20)
If we take this message literally, many will be in despair and more confused. It gives us the sense that it is really very difficult to follow Christ and gain Eternal Life. However, if we put this in the context of God’s love, we can look at it in a different perspective. It is God who created us, and therefore has the sole prerogative to command us to follow His Holy Will. It’s not being selfish, God still has given us the free will to choose whether we follow Him or not. It is ours to choose. The Lord won’t force us if we ignore Him. But requiring us to do that is for our own good. Obeying God requires our love and trust. We cannot trust if we don’t have faith. And obeying God in faith makes us think not only of ourselves but also of others. Doing good to others make us messengers of love to His other children, especially those in need. It’ll slowly reveal our loving nature as stewards of earthly treasures, made in order to be shared to others. Greed, envy, pride and other sins are shred off when we start to take on obedience, gratitude and humility.
Our capacity to leave behind our possessions is the ultimate test on what we value the most. Are we for temporal enjoyment instead of eternal happiness? Are we for money and wealth, instead of God and people?
May the Lord open our eyes to the beauty of Heaven revealed to us when we prioritize Him over temporal possessions. May we find satisfaction in using our possessions for others, instead of being enslaved by greed and selfishness. May we find it easy to let go when others need it more, for the greater glory of God.