“How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!”

Many different readings were proclaimed today in special Masses due to the Memorial Day holiday.  Re-entering Ordinary Time (now starting the eighth week) we also have the option of getting  back to reading Mark’s gospel from precisely the point we left off before Lent (so, today, Mk 10:17:27).  This is the story of the rich man who implored Jesus to tell him how to gain eternal life.  Jesus lists several of the commandments; the man says he has kept them all.  Then Jesus tells him that he must sell all he has, give it to the poor, and then follow Him.  The man goes away sad.  Then Jesus tells the disciples of the difficulty of those with vast material wealth to be saved (one example of His words are found in the headline).  The astonished disciples wonder who can be saved; Jesus says that all things are possible with God.  “For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Tim 6:10; see also vv. 17-19).  Invoking the unity of scripture, we see that Jesus is not talking about wealth being evil per se, but rather that the attachment to it at the expense of God and others is not acceptable and is ultimately destructive.  The rich man went away crestfallen because he could not bear to part with his money.  Whatever our financial situation, let us never go away sad from Christ.  May our material possessions never interfere with our relationship with God and others.  Rather, may we always be considerate of good causes and the less fortunate so that we will use our prosperity, allowed us by God, to advance the cause of His kingdom in this world so that we can be happy with Him forever in the next (and bring many others with us).  Let no earthly thing distract us from this goal.

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