The rich young man was proud of his goodness. He knelt before Jesus and put his question – maybe hoping that Jesus would give him one last small bit of advice that would guarantee him eternal life, or maybe expecting that Jesus would tell him that since he had kept all the commandments all his life he was already sure of a place in heaven.
Jesus certainly recognised his goodness and his faithfulness – that’s why he looked steadily at him and loved him. But in that look and in that love Jesus saw and knew that this man was capable of doing even more good. So he presents him with a wonderful invitation to become one of the close disciples of Jesus and to surrender his treasure on earth in return for treasure in heaven – promised by Jesus himself. Jesus didn’t try to reason with him or to persuade him, he just pointed him out as a sad example.
This gospel presents us with the questions: “How can I swop treasures on earth for treasure in heaven? How can I exchange the pleasures and goods of this world for an everlasting joy and happiness in the eternity of heaven?” We have only one life and Jesus is inviting us to leave this world a better place for the time we spent in it. We achieve this, to a great extent, by sharing what we have with others, especially the less fortunate, and not by grasping everything for ourselves.
Kevin Donaghy PP