The question asked by young men: "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus does not answer: "Be free. Follow your conscience. If you feel good do whatever you wish" – like some of our contemporary liberalistic theologians.
Jesus' answer is precise and sharp:
"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;
honour your father and your mother."
We prefer to have the watered, nice and polite answers. But Jesus answers directly and sharply: Keep commandments! God gave us the commandments as an objective and reliable point of reference. We shall not dissolve them in the subjective and relativistic ideologies and politically correct theories. Like to the young men, He tells me also: "If you would like to inherit eternal life there is only one way; KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS!!!!"
So, do I realize that unless I keep the God's commandments I will NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
I certainly know the commandments and I don't need to smooth and flatten them, make them easy and more human. There are the objective and the most reliable means of entering the eternal life.
But this is not the end of Christ's challenging teaching in today's Gospel.
Many or most of us, sitting in the pews are not killers, adulterers, thieves, chronic liars, sinister schemers of fraud, or parent abusers. Rather, we are observing the commandments with faithfulness. Perhaps there are many people in our congregation who might be able to say to Jesus with the young man from the Gospel – “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth”. Nevertheless, like the young, rich man, Jesus can most likely address each one of us with the words – "You are lacking one thing … sell what you have, and give to the poor".
And this is the climax of His teaching. This is the most difficult point of His Gospel, because we –in the individualistic society- we are convinced that it is my right to posses, to defend and to multiply my possessions. The whole world around me is telling me that I am the most important, the most precious person and my needs, my requirements and desires are on top and should be satisfied by all means. If there are not satisfied, I am disappointed; I am upset and even frustrated.
And Jesus in His teaching is going against this mentality. He says openly: "Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow me."
Very sturdy and very difficult teaching ...
My rights to posses against the teaching of Christ …
The teaching, which is not at all smooth and nice. The teaching which openly states: "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"
Why is it difficult for rich men to enter the Kingdom of God? Is it the richness a kind of curse? Is richness a sin? Or maybe it is rather because the richness makes me blind and so I cannot see anymore nor God neither my neighbour?
"How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"
It is hard not because the richness as such is a sin but because being rich very often I become blind and selfish, self-centered …
It's my choice to listen to - or not.