Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
The rich young man
A man ran up….and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “….You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.'” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to (the) poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”….he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples ….”It is easier for a camel to pass through (the) eye of (a) needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. “They … said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” Mc 10,17-27
This of today is one of the most shocking pages of the gospel. We do not need to look far away to find who is this rich young man; we are, with our yearning for the eternal life, our desire to live the reality of the kingdom of the heaven and, at the same time, with our inability to sell everything, to give the proceeds to the poor people and to follow the Lord. As long as we honor the commandments, although with ups and downs, we feel safe enough as the rich young man thinks. The problem arises when we want to follow the path of the perfection, to which the happiness and joy are linked: “You speak well, Lord, but you did not have a family with many children to raise, educate and start to their future”. A single person is more free, but when you have a family, you cannot impose to all the family members a radical choice. It becomes a community fact, not a personal one. And in a family, especially if it is large, not everyone is ready to sell everything and to give the proceeds to the poor people. The first poor people in a family are just the sons, who must be assured for the present and for the necessary education for the future. Of course, we must find ways to open ourselves to the neighbor, also to educate them in the solidarity and in the generosity. In our experience, a family should work like the fireplace, which, to burn well, must be open outwards, with an opening as large as possible, but not excessive, otherwise the flame rips and the fireplace equally turns off, as if there was no opening. For a family this is the path of the serenity and of the joy. We realize that the balance between the family responsibility and the social solidarity is difficult to be achieved, then let’s turn in prayer the last sentence of the today’s gospel: “Give us, Lord, the common sense, the wisdom, the generosity and the faith in order to perform, day after day, the same choices which you would do in our situation. Eventually, though, we rely to your mercy, because what it has not been possible for us, it is for you”.