people of Jesus’ time believed that worldly wealth was a sign of
God’s favour. Rich people were admired and envied. The rich man who
approaches Jesus in today’s Gospel tells him eagerly that he has
kept all the commandments of God’s law from his earliest days. No
doubt he believes that his wealth is God’s reward for living a good
life. Jesus looks steadily at the man and loves him, and then issues
a radical challenge: to give up all of his possessions and follow
Jesus. Once again, Jesus turns the wisdom of the world on its head.
He discerns that this man’s riches are an obstacle that prevent him
from becoming a disciple. He needs to let them go, for the sake of
something better: the treasure in heaven that only Jesus can give
challenge is too much for the rich man, and he goes away sad. He
doesn’t appear again in the Gospels, and we don’t know what
became of him. This Gospel reading prompts us to imagine Jesus
looking at us and loving us. What step does the Lord ask us to take,
to set ourselves free for discipleship?