Summary: FOBO “fear of better options?
I saw a tee-shirt that said “fomo made me do it” (Fear Of Missing Out.). Did the man in our Gospel today have that, or FOBO “fear of better options,” or FODA, 'fear of doing anything?'
The man ran up, knelt down, and asked Jesus, “…what must I do to inherit eternal life?" It’s like, “What is the meaning of life?” or What should be my aim, and how do I attain it?
Notice Jesus is expressly teaching here that the 10 Commandments are necessary to be kept for eternal life.
Jesus looked at him with love and then made a spiritual diagnosis: “you are missing one thing;” 1 Cor. 14:25 says, “As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, "God is truly here among you."
There was actually a second, implicit charismatic insight by Jesus when he said, “you shall not defraud.”
The man was likely a large landowner which pretty much meant the exploitation of the peasantry, so the man may not have kept all the commandments so perfectly after all because the Greek translation implies that he had great estates; that is the connotation when it says “he had many possessions.”
Notice that, the man’s “face fell, and he went away sad.”
Parker Palmer wrote that, [There are] moments when it is clear—if I have eyes to see—that the life I am living is not the same as the life that wants to live in me. In those moments I sometimes catch a glimpse of my true life, a life hidden like the river beneath the ice. And I wonder, what am I meant to do? Who am I meant to me?
The man did not follow his true vocation to follow Jesus, after first giving away all his possessions. Jesus’ counsel is meant for all of us, too, since we are always able to go deeper, by letting go, being more detached of those things that possess us and obscure our true desire—the wisdom and knowledge of God.
The message is about having a single-minded commitment not just in possessions but also in one’s life as a disciple because of the promised persecutions that will come.
…..Easier for a camel. Other rabbis said, “It is easier for an elephant...”
Our material goods are entrusted to us by God not for own personal advantage but for the privilege of using them for the good of others. Ownership makes us a steward by Providence.
If you would ask the rich young man “What do you do for a living?” Its like asking what is your purpose in life? To him, losing his job meant losing his identity, when Jesus would have given him that and much more for a more satisfying life.
The Old Testament already recognized that to give alms to the needy is to store up treasure in heaven (Tobit 4.& and Sir. 29:8). Our Opening prayer at Mass today alludes to the same thing, “May your grace, O Lord, we pray, at all times go before us and follow after us, and make us always determined to carry out good works.”
St. Ignatius of Loyola said that Christian discernment should eventually move toward “holy indifference,” recognizing the things that are not of God.
However, notice that Jesus promises that following him, even giving after giving everything away, nothing of consequence will be lost through discipleship; indeed what you left behind will be replaced a hundredfold. There is also a striking contrast between the plethora of benefits promised for this life, and the single reward of the next life which implies that the latter, eternal life, is more valuable than all the advantages of the present age!
It’s the same message in the First Reading, Solomon preferred Wisdom above all external goods, but subsequently discovered that the latter were ultimately attained along with her.
Given that wisdom is a gift, our First Reading is telling us that the constant prayer for wisdom and preference of it over gold and silver leads to all good things being given to you in her company.
extra: [sum's up the sermon]
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.
But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."