He went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
Mark 10: 22
Today’s Gospel (Mark 10: 17-28) should challenge us, but so often we think that it is only a challenge for the rich young man who came to Jesus seeking to know how to inherit eternal life.
The disciples realized it was challenge for they were amazed and astonished when Jesus noted, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
All those of us who don’t have to worry about our physical survive are in some sense rich. One liberation theologian has said that the poor are those who wake up each morning and have to ask if they will have enough to feed themselves and their families.
The lives of the poor are insecure – and thus they show us the reality of this world, the pain and suffering of the poor and marginalized.
Our riches cannot win us real security, even if we surround ourselves with armed guards and electrified wire fences, as some do here. Our riches cannot win us wealth.
And so we are asked to sell what we have, give the money to the poor, and follow Christ.
Following Christ has everything to do with how we deal with money.
A great example of this is today’s saint, Mother Katherine Drexel. She was born into a rich Philadelphia Catholic family. Her mother died when she was a few weeks old, but her step mother, Emma Bouvier, gave her an example of charity. Three times a week, the Drexel home opened its doors to feed, clothe, and give money to the poor.
That gesture of charity opened Katherine’s heart to the poor.
But she did not confine her love to Catholics or poor city dwellers. In her travels with her family throughout the US, she saw the poverty and the discrimination against native Americans and black Americans. She finally founded a religious order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, to care for them.
But even though she inherited great sums of money, none of the money was used for her congregation. It was used to assist works with native and black Americans. This included the founding of missions, schools, and New Orleans’ Xavier University.
The poor at the margins were her concern – as they are the concern of the Lord.
Mother Drexel’s heart was open – and she followed the poor Christ, by sharing with the poor.
What am I called to do?