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Better to be rich in heaven than on earth

Based on Wis 7:7-11; Heb 4:12-13; Mk 10:17-30

“Oh, that’s asking too much!”

That must have been what the young man in this Sunday’s Gospel thought after he asked Jesus what he must do to get to heaven.

The young man was rich – nice home, good clothes, plenty of food – and had everything any person could want. He was a good man who obeyed his parents, treated others with kindness, did not steal or cheat and always told the truth. He always followed God’s commandments.

One day he asked Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus looked at him lovingly and saw his goodness. Then Jesus said, “There’s one thing you still need to do. Sell everything you own and give the money to the poor. Then, come and follow me.”

The young man really loved Jesus, but he didn’t want to give up all his nice things. Sadly, he turned and walked away.

Jesus explained to his disciples it is more important to have riches in heaven than riches on earth. Jesus was asking for the young man’s heart, not just that he follow God’s commandments.

Jesus isn’t against money. Riches are not the problem. It’s when riches become the most important part of people’s lives and when people are not generous with them that cause trouble.

Jesus just wants us to love him more and to love others more than we love money or things. Pope Francis continually challenges us with this same message.

To know and obey the commandments is not enough. For every commandment that tells us not to do something, there is something we must do.

Here’s Jesus’ “to do” list for us: Pray, forgive, share, help, give and love.

Now, what will you do? Will you say, “That’s asking too much!” and, like the rich young man, turn and walk away from Jesus? Or, will you offer your heart to Jesus and follow him even though sometimes it may be hard?