28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B - 14/7/2012 - Gospel: Mk 10:17-30
Life is full of surprises and our God is God of surprise. Surprise often arrives unexpectedly. We have no control of it and when we do it is no more a surprise. In today's Gospel Jesus met the man and the man was surprised to hear what Jesus asked of him. The disciples were also surprised to learn that it is hard for the rich to enter God's kingdom.

The man came up to Jesus and asked Him "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus told the man to keep the commandments. The man joyfully responded that he had kept them from his childhood. Jesus looked at the man and loved him for knowing God's commandments.  He asked the man to put it into practice by selling what he owns and giving it to the poor, to follow Him. On other words Jesus asked the man to free himself from the attachment of his wealth and become an instrument of God's mercy and love and life giver. The man was happy and now unhappy. The man was talkative and now quiet and finally he left Jesus. After the man left, Jesus made the comment to his disciples that it is difficult for a rich to enter God's kingdom.

The disciples were surprised to hear the comment from the Master because the general understanding at the time was that material wealth was a sign of God's blessing. If they were wealthy it meant that God had blessed them. It is therefore, for them the rich are already received a trump card to enter God's kingdom. What Jesus taught was new for them and that challenged their way of thinking. They were surprised that it was not just them that was wrong but the whole concept of wealth the society held was in jeopardise. The new teaching turned their traditional belief about material wealth upside down. The disciples felt that it looked as if nobody can be saved. Jesus told them that it is impossible with people's power and knowledge but with God's grace everything is possible. Nothing can save us even when we sell everything and give it to the poor that would not guarantee that we will be saved. It's only possible with God. God alone has the power to save us. To their surprise Peter questioned Jesus that we have left everything to follow you what we will get? Jesus replied with a blessing that anyone who has left everything to follow will receive much more than what they have left in this world and in the world to come, eternal life. The promise the man at the beginning of the story is searching for.

People are blessed not because they are wealthy but the way in which they distribute their wealth that will make them rich in the eyes of God and be blessed. The implication of the teaching is that wealth is suppose not to be stored and kept but it needs to share, to be given, to donate that is the good way to stewardship your gift by means of helping the poor and the needy and through it people praise God for your goodness.