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Jesus’ encounter with the “rich young man” raises a very important—and potentially uncomfortable—question for all of us: What possesses my heart?
Like many of us, the young man in the gospel has a divided heart. On the one hand, he wants to please God and has followed the commandments faithfully. And at the same time, he is not free to follow more fully. In the end, he goes away sad, “for he had many possessions.” His possessions, it seems, possessed him.
We all—whether young or old, man or woman, rich or poor—have some of this young man in us. Maybe we are possessed by “stuff” like he was, or by something less tangible such as success. Still, our encounter with Jesus, like his, entails a call to greater freedom and love.