In the Gospel of Mark we meet a wealthy young man who is searching for perfection. Jesus tells him that he needs to do only one thing: sell all you have, give it to the poor, and come follow me. But Jesus seems to have asked too much, because the man goes away sad. Jesus then comments on the fact that it is hard for the wealthy to enter the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, this has led to an interpretation of the gospel story that is perhaps too literal.
The first reading this Sunday from the Book of Wisdom is the clue to understanding the message of the Gospel. The writer reflects on the fact that through prayer he was given understanding, and the spirit of wisdom came to him. The gospel is not about riches and poverty per se, but about what the young man cared about most, what he sought and desired – something stated a little more clearly in Matthew’s gospel: “. . . where your treasure is, there will your heart be.” The gospel story is about choosing wisely, choosing what should matter most. Wisdom “is more valuable than gold; a brightness that never grows dim.” Jesus was speaking to the young man’s heart, not to his purse.
In Gaudete et Exsultate Pope Francis reminds us that “The Gospel invites us to peer into the depths of our heart, to see where we find our security in life . . . Jesus calls blessed those who have a poor heart, for there the Lord can enter with his perennial newness.”
-Regina Murphy, SSMN
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221