Like Simon the Pharisee, whom we looked at in yesterday's reflection, this rich man is pious and law-abiding. He has spent his life following the rules, but he knows something is missing in his life, so he comes to question Jesus.
And he doesn’t like the answer. Humility, compassion, and generosity are not the prescription he is looking for. He is told that worldly riches are not the passport to heaven, indeed Jesus says they are a hindrance on the way.
The phrase that stands out for me is “Jesus looked straight at him with love.”
The rich man doesn’t seem to see it. He is wrapped up in himself, and doesn’t understand what is being offered to him.
Jesus looks at us with love. Can we see him?
God of the new,
when Jesus looks at us with love,
asks us to respond to him,
change our priorities,
may we see him for who he is,
and follow in his new way.
17 As Jesus was starting on his way again, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; do not cheat; respect your father and your mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” the man said, “ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.”
21 Jesus looked straight at him with love and said, “You need only one thing. Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 22 When the man heard this, gloom spread over his face, and he went away sad, because he was very rich.
23 Jesus looked around at his disciples and said to them, “How hard it will be for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were shocked at these words, but Jesus went on to say, “My children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”
26 At this the disciples were completely amazed and asked one another, “Who, then, can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked straight at them and answered, “This is impossible for human beings but not for God; everything is possible for God.”