“Wealth or Kingdom?(Mk 10:17-30)” by Fr. Joel

…a disciple who followed him will receive a hundredfold as much; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children, and lands, along with persecutions, and in the age to come, life everlasting (v.30). The rewards mentioned by Jesus are a “great reversal” of the sacrifices and sufferings a disciple will endure for a moment, but which will end in the gratifying life that awaits at the gate.

Is following Jesus an easy one? What should be sacrificed? What reward awaits the follower? This Sunday’s Gospel of Mark is part of the second instructions of Jesus to His disciples on their Way to Jerusalem. His teaching is about riches, reminding the disciples on the importance of discipleship. This final section consists of three parts.

The Story of the Rich Man ( v. 17-22 )

This part of the gospel has generated many interpretations down the centuries. Said interpretations have tried to modify this very difficult teaching, that even the rich man left, very sad. The story revolves on the question: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This paved the way for Jesus to remind him of the tenets of the Decalogue that talks on human relationships. But something is demanded from this reminder – radical discipleship. And this entails giving everything that one possesses, which is not limited to material possessions alone.

I guess, the difficulty lies on the aspect of detachment. After all, I am not in my proper frame of mind if I have given myself all these years working for my keep; then, in a sudden turn of events, I will give away what I valued most in life? But this is really the point. “Am I willing to sacrifice?” For truly, wealth can be a hindrance
in following Jesus, but the rewards of his being a disciple are greater than the sacrifices.

Instructions to the Disciples (v.23-27 )

Can mere renunciation of wealth guarantee our salvation? The personal instructions of Jesus to his disciples, which became public,
emphasize the power of God and faith in Him, being the ways to salvation. These two spiritual elements are very important because they will usher the followers/disciples of Jesus to a more
fulfilling life, as servants of God. Renunciation therefore, with reliance on Him as our ultimate Redeemer, will assure us of eternal rewards. With this assurance given us, we need to follow therefore the spirit of Jesus and his ways. We should make it a point in our
lives to have Him at the very center of our relationship. When we make him our guidepost in achieving spiritual ends, we need to redirect our lives in accord to his direction. Jesus is our salvation, and therefore, we should lead others towards him. By making him our model for living, it will surely be easier for us to pass through the narrow gate, for he will be there to widen the gate
for us. Therefore, with renunciation of material wealth comes the follow up responsibility of how we can really give everything to God, including our own selves. This is the way He showed us, how to become more than less, to be a man for God and for others and not
only for ourselves.

Teaching on Giving up Riches (v.28-31 )

What is now the reward for accepting the invitation of Jesus? Jesus gave the response to this query that both in the present and in
the future, a disciple who followed him will receive a hundredfold as
much; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children, and lands, along with persecutions, and in the age to come, life everlasting (v.30). The rewards mentioned by Jesus are a “great reversal” of the sacrifices and sufferings a disciple will endure for a moment, but which will end in the gratifying life that awaits at the gate.

As our Church launches the Year of the Faith, let us be encouraged by the inspiring words of reminders from Jesus, keeping ourselves focused on how we can journey as a COMMUNITY IN FAITH, willing to undergo persecutions but with hearts open to the gates of HOPE towards HIM. We pray that may our lives continue to witness the FAITH that we have embraced.

published on October 14, 2012 Parish Bulletin

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