As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him,
"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
"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."
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
"How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!"
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
"Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
"Then who can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
~ Mark 10:17-27
This Gospel story reminds us of two things:
1. The moral duty to follow the Law of God
2. The call to poverty in our lives.
The young man in the Gospel was a moral person, and yet he was searching for more. In looking for more, Jesus revealed to Him the demands of “more."
For some, poverty is a literal and a radical call to be a sign for the world and a witness to the Gospel, like in the case of a religious taking the vow of poverty. However, this literal poverty is only a means to a truer sense of poverty to which our Lord is asking: the complete detachment in mind and heart to everything in our possession in order to search and attach to God Himself. It can be more difficult to rid ourselves of thoughts of possessions than to be rid of physical possession.
Detachment may not always mean giving away everything we have in an instant. But it does mean living with a spirit of readiness to joyfully give up all that we have if it is ever asked of us, We see that we are merely stewards of all that we possess, given to us by the good Lord in the first place.
This is the poverty that is asked of all of us.