10 October 2015


wisdom 7:7-11; hebrews 4:12-13; mark 10:17-30

in the success syndrome, steven berglas writes that individuals who «suffer» from success have a sense of aloneness. he cites the case of dennis levine, who was convicted of insider trading in the 1980s. levine’s wife asked him why he needed the money from insider trading; he had no answer… but said when he earned $100,000, he hungered for $200,000; when it was $1 million, he hungered for $3 million. 
berglas comments that people, who find that $200,000 did not make them happy, strangely never ask why they think $300,000 would make them happy… but keep craving for more. 

none of us are big-league cravers, but all of us are constantly seeking more. this desire for «more» is at the heart of today’s liturgy.
the young man in the gospel comes to JESUS seeking something more. he has kept the commandments, and led a righteous life. yet deep down he knows something is missing. how can he fill the void in his heart?
JESUS gives him the solution: «go, sell what you have, and give to the poor…; then come follow me.» 

the man goes away sad. he fails in his quest for «more» on three counts.
first, he had many possessions. the issue is not his wealth but his possessions and attachment to them. he is «rich» (vs. the biblical «poor») not because he is wealthy but because he is so dependent on himself and his resources. 
second, he lived selfishly. he was rich but was unwilling to share his resources.
third, he fails to understand the incomparable grace of following JESUS… a treasure which far surpasses all his possessions. 

all of us constantly want more. 
how do i fill this void: with things? with gadgets and gizmos? with habits and addictions? with people? 
what are my «possessions»? (it might seem strange but even clinging to my worries and frustrations; unhappiness and inferiority; my self-perception… could well be «possessions» which encumber me!)

steven berglas was asked to prescribe a cure for the success syndrome. he said: «what’s missing in these people is deep commitment or religious activity that goes far beyond just writing a check to a charity.» what’s missing, in a word, is GOD!
blaise pascal puts this beautifully: «there is a vacuum in the heart of every man [and woman]; a GOD-shaped vacuum which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by GOD, the creator, made known through JESUS»!