The words of Jesus in Mark 10:23-25 provoke astonishment among the disciples in our Gospel this weekend. The teaching of Jesus seems to contradict the Old Testament concept that prosperity is a sign of God’s blessing. However, since wealth, power, and merit generate false security, Jesus rejects them as a claim to enter the kingdom.
The negative outcome of the man’s choice to walk away strikes a note of realism. That man, may of course, be us. It also attests the special power of possessions to hinder Christian discipleship. Jesus uses the rich man’s departure as a teaching moment to instruct his disciples about the dangerous snare that earthly possessions, success and prosperity can have. Total detachment from one’s possessions is required of every authentic disciple. Jesus saw the danger of material possessions. They can fix our heart to the world and make us think of every thing in terms of price rather than value.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (2404-2405) that our material goods are entrusted to us by God not for our own personal advantage but for the privilege of using them for the good of others. “The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all their family….