A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
The Gospel today tells us that merely following the commandments will not lead us to eternal life. Reflecting on this, it occurred to me that following the commandments has become basic social norm because it is written in the Bible and we live in a world full of Christians making it a necessity to act in accordance with what is deemed socially right. Given that, we draw on the point that it is not only that which leads us to eternal life. Hence, Jesus says, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
More than the manifestation of God's generosity by giving to the poor, these words impose upon us the need to make a choice. Do we choose the riches of this world or do we trust in God's promise of treasure in heaven?
Choosing to rely on God's promise, however, doesn't mean God wants us to just live in poverty. No. In fact, God wants us to be rich and live a good life! But more than just being rich with worldly possessions, God wants us to be richer in values, happiness, people, charity and everything good. When we give, we lose some material wealth but we gain God's value of generosity and charity.
So go and get rich but not vainly rich. Get rich through hard work and good means (i.e. no malversation, no deception, no theft etc). For mere material wealth is vanity.