A story is told about Phythius, an ancient King of Lydia ( Lydia – a place in the present day Turkey).
Phythius was very wealthy, but also very greedy, and he would spend as little as possible.
His wife – the Queen – was however, greatly determined to cure him of this “wealth mania!”
One day when he came home hungry from a long hunt, she told the slaves to place before him dishes that were filled with gold…
… gold that was fresh from the royal gold mines.
The King stared down at his gold-filled plates, admiring them for some time, and then he asked for some food.
“Food?” his wife asked, feigning surprise, “But surely they have brought you what you love best in the world, haven’t they?”
“What are you talking about?” the King replied, as he lost his temper, “Gold can’t satisfy my hunger.”
“No?” the Queen answered, “Is it not foolish then to have such love for something that cannot be useful so long as you hang on to it?
>> Believe me; gold is truly of service only to people who exchange it for the good and useful things of life.”
The Rich Young Man in the Gospel of the Day also faced a similar “wealth mania”…
… and was reminded that “riches come to have true value, only when given in service, to the needy”
Are we also facing a “wealth mania” in our lives?
The young man in the Gospel approaches Jesus to ask, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10: 17)
When Jesus gave him a list of commandments, that needed to be followed to help ensure a passage into eternal life, the man replied, “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth” (Mk 10: 20)
We underline a few aspects of this young man…
… he did desire for a life of eternity and followed the commandments
… he did nurture a sense of being pious and devout, to please the Lord
… he probably failed to live up to the intentions of the commandments
… he possibly got lost into only keeping the letters of the commandments; not the spirit!
• He got attached to doing God’s commandment, but failed to break his attachments with the riches of the world.
• He possessed the good will to follow God’s teachings, but failed to let go of the possessions of his life.
The Lord realized this “pitiable” condition of the young man.
• He was wealthy in the world, but was unable to be rich before God
• He was obedient to the laws, but was unable to be obedient to give up his attachments.
Therefore, the Lord, knowing this state of the young man – devout yet not properly focused – “looked at him, loved him, and said, ‘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'” (Mk 10: 21)
This young man could represent any one of us…
• We seek to be pious but find it hard to let go of our possessions
• We seek for holiness in life but go through a struggle to give up our attachments
• We seek to follow the Lord wholly but stumble to give ourselves entirely to the Lord
Yet, the Lord does not give up on us…
• He looks on us…
• He loves us…
And He invites us, to have the proper focus in life!
• It is not material possessions that ought to occupy our hearts; rather, our hearts needs to be possessed with the Love for the Lord.
• It is not worldly treasures that should be our prime motto in life; rather, a life, dedicated to the Kingdom of God and helping the needy with the resources we have.
• Our material life is totally in the control of the Lord.
• Our material possessions will be of no avail, when we leave this world.
• Our hands will not be able to hold any riches when we depart from this life.
Let us instead be possessed by the Lord, gather the precious stones of His grace and love by works of charity and hold on to Him, so that we may have a wonderful life of eternity with the Lord of all treasures!
Let us give heed to some of the wise and noble sayings of Holy People who have described the necessity to be detached from the riches of the world…
>> St Bede the Venerable: “He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.”
>> St Alphonsus Liguori:”Those who desire nothing from this world are masters of the whole world.”
>> St Gregory the Great: “Be not anxious about what you have, but about what you are… Make use of temporal things, but set your heart on eternal things.”
God Bless! Live Jesus!