The sense of the divine in human consciousness is inbuilt. We see this very clearly in the lives of the Jewish people whose lives and relationship with God are abundantly documented in the Old Testament. Not only the Jewish people but humanity as a whole, both ancient and modern, believe that ultimately God is the priceless possession that they can ever have. Of course priceless things are also found in our physical world. In the architectural field we have marvels like the Taj Mahal, the great Basilicas in Rome, the Egyptian pyramids, and the Great Wall of China, to mention a few. Similarly in literature, art, music and cinema we find priceless pieces of work. In the process of creating great works, their creators also become wealthy and prosperous. Here lies the problem. One uses the God-given gifts and talents to create precious things and as a collateral effect becomes wealthy. Now where do people put their minds and hearts: in God who have given them the opportunity and necessary talents or in the wealth they have created?
The author of the Book of Wisdom says that he would prefer wisdom to sceptres and thrones. He would consider wisdom as more precious than gold and silver both of which are costly and precious metals. The young man in the Gospel of today is facing the existential problem: to be on the side of God or his possessions. He comes running to Jesus as a sincere seeker, for his purpose in meeting Jesus is noble: he wants to inquire about eternal life. The man’s gesture of kneeling before Jesus shows his humility. But his addressing him as “good teacher” is not appropriate and Jesus rejects it by asking, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus explains why he refuses the characterization of himself as “good” by stating, “No one is good except God.” The Old Testament associates the goodness of God with His steadfast love for Israel, and it was common knowledge among the Israelites that it was not proper to call any person “good” except God.
By refusing the appellation “good” Jesus shows his modesty and piety by not claiming for himself qualities or prerogatives that belong to God alone. Here Jesus seems to identify himself with sinful humanity in its alienation from the only good being, God. During his earthly existence, Jesus associated with the sinful humanity.