Scripture teaches us not to be attached to things



Scripture is like a double edged sword, it cuts deep and reveals hidden truths. Like attachment to a material good more than a spiritual good. This often hides the fact we love comfort more than our growth and good. I find it fascinating that even though the scriptures are so old compared to the “secret” or any other self help book of our time, it still manages to challenge us who read and reflect on it. It is our wisdom, as the first reading states: “I prayed, and understanding was given me”. Let us pray that wisdom will be given us and discover, what we need to let go of, that prevents us from being free, just as the rich young man was bound and chained to his riches.
First reading
Wisdom 7:7-11I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones;
compared with her, I held riches as nothing.
I reckoned no priceless stone to be her peer,
for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand,
and beside her silver ranks as mud.
I loved her more than health or beauty,
preferred her to the light,
since her radiance never sleeps.
In her company all good things came to me,
at her hands riches not to be numbered.Psalm
Psalm 89:12-17Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever?
Show pity to your servants.

Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

In the morning, fill us with your love;
we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Give us joy to balance our affliction
for the years when we knew misfortune.

Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Show forth your work to your servants;
let your glory shine on their children.
Let the favour of the Lord be upon us:
give success to the work of our hands.

Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Second reading
Hebrews 4:12-13The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.
Mark 10:17-30Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.’ Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.
Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, ‘My children,’ he said to them ‘how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were more astonished than ever. ‘In that case’ they said to one another ‘who can be saved?’ Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he said ‘it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.’
Peter took this up. ‘What about us?’ he asked him. ‘We have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.’
Final reflection:
Jesus could read this mans heart, he saw his attachment to wealth. But we think then wealth is bad. It can be bad, but are we judging too quickly. Because, maybe it is not the loss of money that concerns the young man, perhaps it is the loss of status that the money gives to him. I think we can all relate to being attached to our status in society. Even Christians find it hard to be Christian in public because of the fear of ridicule and the shame of appearing different. Those who followed Jesus were not considered the ‘in crowd’, they were the rejects of higher society: sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, those frowned upon. Yet they were happy, why? Because they felt complete acceptance from Jesus and from his followers, what they were longing for from the world. They realised that they would never find complete acceptance from the world but then they found it from Jesus. Which is why it is harder for rich people, not just rich in wealth but more so rich in worldly acceptance that find it hard to enter the kingdom of relationship with Jesus and his life style of leaving everything.
The young man walked away very sad. His ego had hold of him, perhaps his ego said “you must play the role of a rich man you will be safe then and accepted and belong, this is the way of perfection”. But while he was thinking this Jesus was looking at him and loving him, accepting him. But the young man some how did not see this love, his attachment to wealth blinded him so much. He was so identified with his ego “I am rich, I am safe”, he turned and walked away, sad, for he was a man of great wealth.
This is hard, hard, hard. We learn to be attached to things that bring us protection, but is it really protecting us? The type of protection that scripture gives us is truth, truth about who we are and where we are going. Riches won’t liberate you. At your death your family might even forget you because of your riches, because they would be too busy fighting over it, now is that something worth being attached to?
Action steps:
Consider what is holding you back from relationship with Jesus and his followers?
Do you have strong healthy relationships with people you trust? Or are they only interested in the status, of being in relationship with you?
What do you think of wealthy people, perhaps you hate them, how could you let them go and accept them?
Pray for wisdom on how you can better live your life, free from attachment?

Read more