October 14, 2018 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Fr Jim Miller

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 WIS 7:7-11

Responsorial Psalm PS 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

  1. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Reading 2 HEB 4:12-13

Alleluia MT 5:3

 Gospel MK 10:17-30 


Homily—October 13 & 14, 2018   28th Sunday in Ordinary Time           

The lottery jackpots are getting high again but I am 100 % sure that I will not win this weekend . . . because I did not buy a ticket!!   In the first reading we find that riches are nothing in comparison to Wisdom!   I hope we can pray for and work toward wisdom in our lives.  

            In the second reading we hear that “the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

            If that is true, how is it that we proclaim the word of God week after week with so little apparent effect?  How is it that so many Christians “hear” God’s word but walk out of church largely unchanged?  How is it that we proclaim the values of God week after week and most of us continue to live by the values of the world, which are frequently in complete contradiction to God’s ways?

            If the word of God is truly proclaimed with power and truly heard by the assembly, it will change us.  Sometimes we hear the word of God but don’t listen.  Other times we listen but fail to implement the word in daily life.  Sometimes the lector and the presider proclaim the word better than at other times.  Do let us know if you cannot hear us or understand us.

            In the gospel Jesus is ready to begin a journey when a man runs up to him and kneels down before him and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life.   It seems that he has waited for the last possible moment to question Jesus.   We are like that too when we don’t take the time to pray to God unless we need something or our life is threatened.   Jesus asks him if he has fulfilled the commandments to determine if the man is serious about what he is asking.  Jesus looks at him and loves him and tells him he must do one more thing.  “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”   What a wonderful invitation the man is given—to become one of the disciples of Jesus—but the man goes away sad and I suspect Jesus was sad too because the man was too attached to his riches to give them up to follow Jesus.   What would you do?  Jesus saw something in this man that led him to invite him to join his group of itinerant disciples—an invitation that he didn’t make every day.  We should remember that Mark has purposely placed this incident just after Jesus had taught that people have been created for one another and that only those who are willing to depend totally on God are ready to receive the kingdom.

            Wealth should enable us to live life to the fullest, but often what we possess can weigh us down.  Wealth is seductive:  what we consume can consume us.  Whatever we possess that inhibits us from embracing God’s love is a curse, not a blessing.  The question is not whether money is good or bad; the Gospel challenge is what we do with our wealth and responsibility for the blessings God has given us for the benefit of all.  While our livelihood is important, sometimes we let money rule not only our budgets but our hearts and spirits as well.  Jesus warns his followers that the mindless pursuit of money can blind us to the love of others and devalue the compassion, forgiveness, and joy that are the treasures of God’s kingdom.

            A woman of wisdom traveling through mountains found a precious stone worth thousands of dollars.  Later in her journey she met a hungry traveler.  The wise woman offered him food.  The traveler noticed the precious stone and asked to have it.  Without hesitation, she presented it.  The traveler left happily with the stone, for he knew it was very valuable.  Days later he returned the stone to the wise woman, saying, “I’ve been thinking about the value of this stone, but can you give me something even more precious.”  He said, “Give me what you have within that enabled you to give me the stone.”

            As the rich young man in today’s gospel cannot understand, there is a wholeness to those who can give their time, money, and strength to others and not feel diminished in doing so. 

            A life of pursuing wealth ends at death.  A life of pursuing good works for their own sake can do so as well.  Only a life spent, like Jesus’, pursuing the love of God regardless of the consequences, will leave something that survives the encounter with death.   Our own resurrection is assured when we show God the same commitment to divine love that Jesus showed first.

Prayer of Abandonment

Lord, teach me not only to accept, but to truly love my littleness and my inner poverty, and to place my trust in your infinite goodness and mercy, that I might be entirely dependent upon your protection, fatherly care and experience the transforming power of your grace in my life this week.  Amen.

What are we willing to leave behind?

What do we need to leave behind to accept Jesus invitation to follow Him?