St Mark 10:17-27

Today's section of St Mark 10 takes us to the story of the rich young man:

17 Et cum egressus esset in viam, procurrens quidam genu flexo ante eum, rogabat eum: Magister bone, quid faciam ut vitam æternam percipiam? 18 Jesus autem dixit ei: Quid me dicis bonum? nemo bonus, nisi unus Deus. 19 Præcepta nosti: ne adulteres, ne occidas, ne fureris, ne falsum testimonium dixeris, ne fraudum feceris, honora patrem tuum et matrem. 20 At ille respondens, ait illi: Magister, hæc omnia observavi a juventute mea. 21 Jesus autem intuitus eum, dilexit eum, et dixit ei: Unum tibi deest: vade, quæcumque habes vende, et da pauperibus, et habebis thesaurum in cælo: et veni, sequere me. 22 Qui contristatus in verbo, abiit mœrens: erat enim habens multas possessiones. 23 Et circumspiciens Jesus, ait discipulis suis: Quam difficile qui pecunias habent, in regnum Dei introibunt! 24 Discipuli autem obstupescebant in verbis ejus. At Jesus rursus respondens ait illis: Filioli, quam difficile est, confidentes in pecuniis, in regnum Dei introire! 25 Facilius est camelum per foramen acus transire, quam divitem intrare in regnum Dei. 26 Qui magis admirabantur, dicentes ad semetipsos: Et quis potest salvus fieri? 27 Et intuens illos Jesus, ait: Apud homines impossibile est, sed non apud Deum: omnia enim possibilia sunt apud Deum.

[17] And when he was gone forth into the way, a certain man running up and kneeling before him, asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may receive life everlasting? [18] And Jesus said to him, Why callest thou me good? None is good but one, that is God. [19] Thou knowest the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, bear not false witness, do no fraud, honour thy father and mother. [20] But he answering, said to him: Master, all these things I have observed from my youth. [21] And Jesus looking on him, loved him, and said to him: One thing is wanting unto thee: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. [22] Who being struck sad at that saying, went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. [23] And Jesus looking round about, saith to his disciples: How hardly shall they that have riches, enter into the kingdom of God! [24] And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus again answering, saith to them: Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God? [25] It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. [26] Who wondered the more, saying among themselves: Who then can be saved? [27] And Jesus looking on them, saith: With men it is impossible; but not with God: for all things are possible with God.


de Lapide:

Ver. 21. And Jesus regarding him, with a benignant and pleasant countenance, loved him, showed him marks of His love, taking his hand and smiling upon him, embracing and kissing him. One thing is wanting unto thee, namely, for the perfection of a holy and evangelical life.

Follow Me. The Greek adds, Taking up thy cross. The Syriac has, Take thy cross, and come after Me.

Ver. 24. Little children (Vulg.); the Syriac, My sons. By His bland address He softens the hardness of the matter. He is like one who loves his children most dearly; and as such He would tell them the truth in sincerity, and persuade them to renounce riches as a bar to salvation.

That trust in riches. For rich men trust in their riches rather than in God, according to the saying in Proverbs (x. 15), “The substance of a rich man is the city of his strength” (Vulg.). With difficulty, therefore, are they saved, because salvation cometh only from God. Wherefore those who wish to be saved must put their trust in God, and must ask and wait for salvation from Him, as the poor do. For inasmuch as they have no riches in which to trust, they are obliged to place all their hopes in God, according to the words (Ps. xiv. 6), “Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his hope.” Therefore if rich men wish to be saved, let them turn their hope, their heart, their love from riches, and fix them upon God.

From the Catena Aurea:

BEDE; But there is a great difference between having riches, and loving them; wherefore also Solomon says not, He that has silver, but, He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver. Therefore the Lord unfolds the words of His former saying to His astonished disciples, as follows: But Jesus answered again, and said to them, Children, how hard it is for them that trust in their riches to enter the kingdom of God. Where we must observe that He says not, how impossible, but how hard; for what is impossible cannot in any way come to pass, what is difficult can be compassed, though with labor. 

CHRYS. Or else, after saying difficult, He then shows that it is impossible, and that not simply, but with a certain vehemence; and he shows this by an example, saying, It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 

THEOPHYL. It may be that by camel, we should understand the animal itself, or else that thick cable, which is used for large vessels. 

BEDE; How then could either in the Gospel, Matthew and Joseph, or in the Old Testament, very many rich persons, enter into the kingdom of God, unless it be that they learned through the inspiration of God either to count their riches as nothing, or to quit them altogether. Or in a higher sense, it is easier for Christ to suffer for those who love Him, than for, the lovers of this world to turn to Christ; for under the name of camel, He wished Himself to he understood, because He bore the burden of our weakness; and by the needle, He understands the prickings, that is, the pains of His Passion. By the eye of a needle, therefore, He means the straits of His Passion, by which He, as it were, deigned to mend the torn garments of our nature. it goes on;

And they were astonished above measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? Since the number of poor people is immeasurably the greater, and these might be saved, though tine rich perished, they must have understood Him to mean that all who love riches, although they cannot obtain them, are reckoned in the number of the rich. It goes on; And Jesus looking upon them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God; which we must not take to mean, that covetous and proud persons can enter into the kingdom of Heaven with their covetousness and pride, but that it is possible with God that they should be converted from covetousness arid pride to charity and lowliness. 

CHRYS. And the reason why He says that this is the work of God is, that He may show that he who is put into this path by God, has much need of grace; from which it is proved, that great is the reward of those rich men, who are willing to follow the discipline of Christ. 

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