Just as Jesus was setting out on his journey again, a man ran up, knelt before him and asked, “Good Master, what must I do to have eternal life?”
Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not cheat, honor your father and mother.” The man replied, “I have obeyed all these commandments since my childhood.”
Then Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him and he said, “For you, one thing is lacking. Go, sell what you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me.” On hearing these words, his face fell and he went away sorrowful, for he was a man of great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were shocked at these words, but Jesus insisted, “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 one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were more astonished than ever and wondered, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus looked steadily at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God; all things are possible with God.”
“Good foot goes up to heaven, bad foot goes down to hell.” The therapist told me that because my right foot is stronger than my left, so it goes first when climbing upstairs, the left goes first when climbing down. The young man’s one foot is already at the threshold of heaven. But due to worldly cares and material possessions that have more powerful pull, he did not persevere. As he turned his back to Jesus and started walking away, Jesus looked at the young man and tried to bring him back. But no, he kept on walking away. It was the same glance that Jesus gave to Peter after his denial and to Judas Iscariot before the betrayal. No matter how powerful was the glance of Christ, the darkness had already taken hold of the latter’s heart and mind.
Richness clouds up the young man’s vision in such a way that he doesn’t see the crucial priority in life. He was going to church regularly, but his heart is not in sync with faith. “We may not be able to buy our way into heaven but today’s passage suggests we can buy our way out of heaven!” (Rob Myallis)
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