The young man of great wealth who asked Jesus how he could “inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:17-30)
The young man was running to Jesus, trying to catch him before Jesus and his disciples were continuing their journey. He was in such a hurry that he didn’t have the time to get to know Jesus better, to ask him about eternal life.
The young man wasn’t beating around the bush. He knew the protocols, kneeled before Jesus, the rabbi, and asked how he could inherit eternal life. It reminds me of the disciples discussing who would be sitting to the right and the left of Jesus.
Why would anybody ask for eternal life? It seems like this young man has been living a good life. He has obeyed the laws, and he doesn’t want this life to end. He has power, and everything money can buy, but he would like a guarantee to have life eternal.
Maybe someone told him that Jesus was the good rabbi and lord who could help him get this insurance. Jesus could reserve him a space in Heaven.
Has he heard of the story of Job? A man who was good, obeyed the laws but who was tested to a point where life eternal would sound like a threat.
In the Gospel, it says that Jesus looked at the young man and “loved him”. Jesus didn’t decline the request, nor did he accept it. Instead, he challenged the young man.
What about us? Are we asking and praying for ourselves only? Are we expecting rewards for our good deeds?
We can’t buy or earn eternal life. We can do our best and use our talents and personal wealth wisely. Following Jesus’ advice as radically as did St Francis of Assisi, is a huge step.
Let’s remember the prayer in the psalm of the day:
Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.