Reflection: 14th October 2018

A Reflection for the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

MK 10: 13-30 (  

The dangers of wealth

The fact that all three Synoptic Evangelists – Matthew, Mark and Luke – narrate similar episodes in the life of Jesus tells us that wealth/poverty played an important role in the life of each of the three communities involved.

The young man in today’s Gospel had “observed all these commandments from his youth” but wished to learn from Jesus if there was anything more he needed to do to “merit eternal life”.

Jesus, looking upon him, loved him and replied: “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 moment his face fell and he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions”. (v.22). Jesus commented to his disciples: “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God“.

The disciples were amazed because for many in Old Testament times, wealth was a sign of God’s satisfaction. So they asked Him: “Who then can be saved”?  Jesus replied that what seems impossible for humans may not be so for God.

Peter, still puzzled, asked what the reward would be for those who had left everything to follow Him. Jesus replied that they who had left all for His sake and the gospel would be rewarded a hundred-fold in this life “with persecution” and in the age to come, eternal life, “but many who are first will be last and the last first”.                                           

In our work of evangelisation, we must be careful in our use of the term “Rich”. While some have become rich through inheritance, a win in the lottery, corruption, most owe their wealth to honest, judicious and dedicated use of their skills in industry, commerce, politics, science, art etc. They have employees rather than “servants”.                                     

Pádraig Leonard C.S.Sp.   – After ordination, Fr. Pádraig taught in Spiritan secondary schools in Ireland before volunteering for the new Spiritan Mission to Brazil where he would go on to spend some 50 years. He has recently returned to Ireland and is resident in Kimmage.