What does it mean to be rich before God? The liturgy of this 28th Sunday addresses a truth often forgotten by modern society.
Newsdesk (October 11, 2021 14:29, Gaudium Press): Sunday’s Gospel focuses attention on a truth often forgotten by modern society. The rich young man’s attitude of denial in the face of Our Lord’s request for surrender and the consequent downcastness and sadness well represent the contemporary world’s reaction to life’s contradictions and failures: they do not conform to the way divine Wisdom has acted in souls throughout history.
Come and follow me!
The first reading deals with the “spirit of wisdom” that moves toward man, thus making him long for it above all earthly honors, riches, and powers:
“I preferred wisdom to scepters and thrones, and in comparison with it I judged wealth worthless” (Wis 7:8).
There are many who ask themselves: How to obtain happiness? The answer seems to be simple: do the will of God. However, how difficult it often is to accept God’s decisions, especially when they indicate a path that we do not want and do not wish to take. This was precisely the reaction of the rich young man, described in the Gospel of Saint Mark:
“Good master, what must I do to gain eternal life? [Jesus answered him,] You lack only one thing: go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me!” (Mk 10:17-21).
This young man could have expected any answer from Our Lord, except the one his ears just heard. Jesus “looked at him with love” (Mk 17:21), inviting him to an immense calling to be one among the apostles. The answer was an instant denial; and a deep sadness took over that poor soul. Why? His attachment to his own criteria caused him not to receive with joy the divine mandate to surrender everything and follow Him.
Now, couldn’t God have enlightened him, giving him the reasons for such a demanding surrender? No. The Divine Wisdom wanted to prove His love, saying deep inside: “Do what I ask of you, and you will have the joy and peace you so much crave. You will not find happiness in the riches and honors of this world, but only in me will you have the rest you so much seek. “Come to me, you who are weary and worn out under the weight of your burdens, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Cf. Mt. 11:28-30). Unfortunately, rejection was his answer.
How many there are who prefer to follow their own criteria and whims, treading a path for themselves. They refuse and reject the determinations of Divine Wisdom, they rebel against the misunderstandings of this “vale of tears”. They clearly represent the image of the present world: “downcast” and “sad”.
How then, can one become rich before God? By letting go of this world and accepting His designs with meekness of soul, for in this way they will obtain “treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21).
Trophies of glory
True example of subjection to God were the saints. It is said that in the eleventh century, in the middle of the Middle Ages, Saint Robert, a Benedictine monk, longed to see in his brothers in the habit excellent practitioners of the rule of Saint Benedict, and men who were really ardent and pious in their duties of piety. This desire led him to reform the order, together with St. Alberic and St. Stephen Harding, by founding a first abbey in Cistercian (the French region of Burgundy), later known as the Cistercian order.
However, until this reformation was achieved, several difficulties presented themselves along the way. Many monks, content with the mediocre routine of the cloisters, put up great resistance to St. Robert’s plans. On one occasion, a monk whom the saint had known since the beginning of his Benedictine life, when pointing out his failure to reform the monastery of Saint Michel (Tonerre, France), said to him:
– Can you endure another failure, going now, to the Abbey of Saint Ayol?”
– Can I? – asked the saint looking at a crucifix – Tonerre made me kneel before the Crucified, asking and begging for his help, and there, I learned the lesson of the Cross! Christianity is not a cult that leads to personal success!
St. Robert continued:
– Do you understand now why I am not afraid of failure? – And looking again, without taking his eyes off the crucified one, he continued: “For me, failure doesn’t exist! For the souls that conform to the divine will, “failures” are not a reason for discouragement, but are trophies of glory that lead them to Heaven.
By Guilherme Motta