Gospel: Mt 19:16-22
It was then, that a young man approached him and asked, “Master, what good work must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One, only, is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.” The young man said, “Which commandments?” Jesus replied, “Do not kill; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother. And love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him, “I have kept all these commandments. What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell all that you possess, and give the money to the poor; and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me.”
On hearing this, the young man went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.
On the one hand, money, material wealth or riches are truly blessings from God. On the other hand, they likewise have the potential of becoming the greatest obstacles to entry into the kingdom of God. Experience has shown that more people are sidetracked from the goal of Christian perfection by materialism than by anything else. When Jesus is our Master and Lord, money serves us. But if money is our master, we become its slave.
Having money or wealth is, to be sure, not a sin. But failing to use it according to the purpose for which God gave it to us, is. It is not an end in itself, rather it is simply a means toward an end namely, salvation or the kingdom of God. Hence, how we manage and use money or material wealth affects our chances in entering the kingdom. “If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? ….You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:11-13).
The Biblical concept of stewardship is quite helpful when talking about the issue of money or material wealth. We are not owners of the money or wealth that we have, we are merely stewards. It is God who owns it all. In the Bible a steward was a servant entrusted to manage an estate. He was expected to be trustworthy in managing it, using it according to the will of the owner or master.