Seek the Treasure of Heaven

User’s Guide to Sunday, Oct. 10

A look from inside the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
A look from inside the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. (photo: Unsplash)

Sunday, Oct. 10, is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Mass Readings: Wisdom 7:7-11; Psalm 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17; Hebrews 4:12-13; Mark 10:17-30 or 10:17-27.

“You will have treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21). 

What is the treasure in heaven of which Jesus speaks in the Gospel (Mark 10:17-30) for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Year B? 

It is the treasure the author of Wisdom desires in the first reading (Wisdom 7:7-11), that treasure which he seeks over riches, gems, gold and silver, which he prefers to health and comeliness and the throne. It is a treasure that we should all pray for and seek, as the author of Wisdom did. 

This treasure is that of knowing God — having the spirit of wisdom, of loving truth, which leads us to God. 

With wisdom, a gift of the Holy Spirit, we are able to see that all of these earthly things are meant for one end: our happiness with God in heaven. When we view them in this way, we see that the treasure of heavenly bliss is worth any sacrifice we are called to make.

The Responsorial Psalm (90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17) shows us how to ask the Lord for his wisdom. When we have his wisdom, we will have joy even in the face of evil, and the Lord will “prosper the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17). His wisdom teaches us to think little of all of the material cares that distract us from love of him. 

The rich man in the Gospel, who literally runs up and kneels before Jesus, shows a real desire for wisdom and attaining eternal life. He has lived his life faithful to the commandments, but Jesus aims for the rich man’s heart. He sees that the man is still attached to his treasure on earth. His words are aimed for our hearts, as well: “You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21). The man goes away sad — he has not learned to treasure heaven above what he possesses. Yet, we, too, may approach the Lord with enthusiasm and walk away sorrowfully, for he sees our hearts and knows that while we basically follow the commandments there are things that keep us from following him with our whole hearts.

“[The] word of God is living and effective,” writes the author of Hebrews (4:12). It penetrates “even between soul and spirit” and is “able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). We cannot conceal anything from him; he sees to our very depths. He knows all of our material attachments. 

As we listen to his word this Sunday, let us truly take in these readings, mull over the words of wisdom, and ask the Lord to help us to prefer prudence and wisdom to all other things. Let us ask him to show us what we lack and where we need to “sell what [we] have, and give to the poor” (Mark 10:21). It may be literal material possessions. It may be the way we use our time. It may be rejecting another sinful attachment. Or it may be letting go of something that seems to be a harmless indulgence. 

We might look at the Lord and think that the things he asks of us are hard. We might wonder if this is what is required of us, “Then who can be saved?” (Mark 10:26). And he will look back at us in mercy and reply, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God” (Mark 10:27).