The Rich Man

Sunday Gospel Reflection
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10:17-30 | Oct. 10, 2021

The Rich Man
Josie Gonzalez

“‘Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?

…Jesus said, ‘You need only one thing. Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.’ When the man heard this, gloom spread over his face, and he went away sad, because he was very rich…Jesus said, ‘How hard it will be for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God!’”

Unlike the rich man in the Gospel, St. Francis of Assisi abandoned his life of luxury and wealth to follow God. A business tycoon and scion of one of the richest families in our society was spiritually transformed during this pandemic and realized, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” (Mk 8:36). Pareho silang mayaman, may kapangyarihan, laki sa layaw pero nagbago para sumunod sa Panginoon, makinig sa Kanyang Salita at maglingkod sa Diyos at sa kapwa.

While the Gospel tells us that it is hard for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God, wala namang imposible sa Diyos. Mayaman o mahirap, let us “ask to receive, seek to find, and knock to be opened unto us.”

One of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit is Wisdom that reminds us “not to be attached to the perishable things of this world but aspire only after the things that are eternal.” Kasama rito ang mga materyal na gamit at ari-arian tulad ng bahay, kotse, lupa, gadgets, damit, at alahas. Activities that belong to this world such as parties, travels, eating/dating/bonding, movies, and friends, even gardening that I love to do most during this pandemic.

And as I reflected on this, I realized that the many things I do and see every day are “perishable”, things that do not matter in the afterlife, things that occupy most of my time and energy, things that, perhaps, stress me out and cause me to worry, activities that are endless day in and day out, day after day.

Are we on the same boat? On the same page? Yes, the “perishables” give us momentary pleasure, fulfillment and joy but shouldn’t we focus on that which is lasting, not of this world but of God’s Kingdom? Pinag-iisipan pa ba natin ito? Let us follow Christ with total detachment from the “detours” in life—material wealth, power, greed, hurting people, corruption, addiction. God’s grace comes when we take the first step. When we want to do something for the Lord, let’s do it immediately—with “one foot raised”, according to St. Ignatius of Loyola.

This Ignatian philosophy also reminds us that we should be ready to go at any time. Are we ready to go any time? Hindi natin pwedeng sabihin huwag muna Lord. Kailangan handa tayo sa lahat ng oras. At ang kahandaan ay nasa kamay natin—purihin ang Panginoon, share the Good News of Salvation, serve our neighbors out of love, do good to those around us. Are we someone others can look up to as a good example? Pagnilayan natin ito.

The Holy Spirit’s gift of Wisdom reminds us to “aspire only for the things that are eternal.” When we believe that Jesus is our greatest joy, aspiring for the “eternal” would be automatic. Whether we say “yes” or “no”, we will be judged by how we live our lives, by the choices that we make and by the quality of our relationship with the Lord.

We must grow in holiness as we prepare for the final journey. Let’s find time to stay with Him by simply doing nothing but spending time with Him in the quiet of our hearts. Many times, I ask myself if I practice what I write in my Gospel reflections. Sometimes, I feel something inside is telling me to “walk the talk” and be faithful to God.

During Mass, when the Sacred Host is raised during its consecration, I ask for forgiveness as well as thank the Almighty for my life. When I am deep in prayer, whether alone or during Mass, I just want to live the moment and stay there. It is a certain “high” between me and the Lord. It is experiencing the Holy Spirit’s gift of Wisdom and, me asking myself, “are you ready for the final journey?”

Are we ready? How deep is our faith? Is Jesus with us? Gaano kalalim ang pagmamahal natin para kay Kristo? Let’s ask ourselves as we reflect on the Gospel.

A very blessed Sunday!

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