As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. (Mk. 10:17-22)
Been reading The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by Fr. James Martin, SJ. Here are some thoughts on this passage…
Jesus is showing his intuitive understanding of what was preventing the young man from growing closer to God. He put his finger on what Ignatius would call the man’s “disordered attachment.” To another person, Jesus might have said, “Give up your status.” To another, “Give up your desires for success.” Jesus was not simply inviting the young man to a simple life; he was identifying an unfreedom, and saying, “Get rid of anything that prevents you from following God.”
The point is not that you have to give everything away, but this: the more you stop buying stuff you don’t need, and the more you get rid of items you don’t use, the more you can simplify your life. And, the more you simplify, the freer you will feel, and be.
Simple living is not a punishment, but a move toward greater freedom.
What is the unfreedom in my life? What is preventing me from following God as closely as I could be? These are the questions on my heart on this rainy Thursday.