28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME-B
Mark 10: 17-30
The rich young man (RYM) ran up, knelt before Jesus and asked: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Who was RYM? Why did he run, kneel and ask Jesus? Why was he rich? RYM was spiritually rich: “Master I have kept the laws since my earliest days.” It means that RYM was a very righteous man hence very pious in the eyes of the Jews! He was materially rich: because he had so many possessions, he was believed to be blessed by God. He was intellectually rich: because he was concerned about the seriousness of life and was asking about eternal life. He was youthfully rich: he was young man!
Here was a man who was at the top of the world. When Jesus saw him, Jesus loved him because RYM was a very lovable person. Jesus did not see the richness of RYM but rather the total emptiness in him so He said to him: “You need to do one more thing; 1) go and sell your possessions 2) give the money to the poor 3) come follow me.” Upon hearing this, RYM’s face fell because he was a man of great wealth.
In the Jewish world, RYM was a symbol of grand success, a fulfillment of everybody’s dream, an idol. But behind his perfection was a defect; behind his huge success was a complete failure; behind his happy face was his unspeakable sadness.
When Jesus asked him to sell all his possessions, he could not let go of his material riches because those were his idols. Therefore he could not follow Jesus who offered him the true riches in heaven.
Now who is RYM in our present time? He is every young man and woman whose success defines one's existence and yet finds life empty! RYM is the lost youth of today who longs for the higher purpose in life when his/her achievements and accomplishments cannot give the satisfaction of the inner self. RYM is a symbol of pious yet constricted selfishness which defines success that glorifies the ego but without compassion to others! It is the apex of a success story without a genuine spirituality and charity!
Material things in themselves are not evil; they are evil when they become our idols and we worship them either consciously or unconsciously as if our lives totally depend on them. Jesus wants us to be free so that we can follow Him.