The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle B of the 28th Week of Ordinary Time is Mark 10:17-30. 

After revealing the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the humble childlike, Christ now encounters the opposite: The Rich Man. The Rich Man rushes up and kneels before Christ and asks, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Christ, knowing the Rich Man lacks humility and faith, reacts harshly (“Why do you call Me good?…) and then coldly redirects him towards the basics, mentioning only the 10 Commandments that focus only on neighbor (and not God). Responding, the Rich Man confirms his lack of humility (who keeps “all” the Commandments?) and faith (fails to mention God). Preferring his worldly possessions over God, the Rich Man refuses Christ’s merciful invitation and leaves in sadness. 

Christ confirms the difficulty of entering Heaven and laments the loss of those with riches, saying, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” First amazed, then astonished and now panicked,  the disciples’ worry about their own fate. Christ gazes intently at the disciples and says, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Still worried, Peter, speaking for the Apostles, mistakenly says, “Lo, we have given up everything and followed you”; like the Rich Man, the disciples still lack humility ( they squabble for honor; Mark 9:34) and faith (they still resist suffering/the Cross; Mark 8:32).  

Christ does not rebuke them but both inspires and warns of the persecutions that come with discipleship. Christ reveals those who sacrifice possessions (home, lands) and family (father, mother, brother, sister…even children) for the sake of the Gospel and Christ will be rewarded in the present age (with fellowship and peace) and with eternal life. In the rewards, Christ slips in “persecutions”, a revelation and warning that suffering will come, but that persecutions will ultimately been seen as blessings (the Cross). Summing things up, Christ confirms “the first” (like the Rich Man) will be last, and “the last” (like the self-sacrificing Apostles) will be first.  

Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ knows the blessings of Heaven and can promise eternal rewards.  Divine Prophet, Christ has profound insight into the Rich Man’s heart, immediately seeing that he is failing to seek God. Divine King, Christ abhors mediocrity and calls all His men to the perfection of sainthood; He deals bluntly with those needing correction. Divine Judge, Christ speaks with authority, disclosing the difficulty of the wealthy to enter Heaven. Divine Teacher, teaches with mysterious irony, blunt statements and memorable metaphors that still intrigue and draw men to Christ’s message.  

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Some men have profitably cultivated the skill to imperfectly “read people”, picking up their micro-facial expressions and reading body language. Be awed (reverence and fear) by Christ’s supernatural power to perfectly read outer indications and to perfectly read the most minute details of every man’s soul. 

2) Men living in modern societies enjoy incredible wealth (like the Rich Man) compared to many billions in the developing world (real poverty) and compared to those Christ called rich. Reflect on the need for Poverty of the Heart (CCC 2544-2547) and pray for Christ to help you battle the desire for riches/comfort and to grow in charity for the poor. 

3) The Rich Man’s false arrogant claim to have kept “all the commandments” is because he had a poorly formed moral conscience. Renew your understanding of the Catechism’s teaching on Moral Conscience (CCC 1776-1802), do a rigorous Examine of Conscience and get to Confession as soon as possible.