Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 10
May We Come to Believe and Rejoice in the Secure Knowledge and Unshakeable Faith that Jesus Christ Is Our Only True Treasure, Both Here on Earth and in Heaven.
In today’s Gospel, we hear our Lord teaching His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” – a statement which utterly amazed His disciples.
Does our possession of material goods make us a people displeasing to God? Of course not! Does our addiction to our need for material goods become a road block, an impediment to eternal life? Most definitely!
And our Lord continues His lesson, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
A camel passing through the “eye of a needle” – an expression which the Jewish people of Jesus’ day clearly understood. For us today, passing through the “eye of the needle” could be interpreted rather figuratively.
But some two thousand years ago, it described the narrow and low gate of the city walls which was used by travelers when the larger public gate was locked after dark. A normal-sized man had to bend over in order to enter the city through this small gate. A camel, however, due to its extreme size, would literally have to kneel and crawl through it, if it was able to squeeze through it at all!
But in order for us to better understand what Jesus was asking of this rich, young man, we must consider Jesus’ answer to him in its totality. “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
It is the words of our psalmist in today’s Responsorial which guide our thoughts to a better understanding: “…and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands!”
The “work of our hands” is the life of faith which you and I profess and live in our day-to-day lives. The “work of our hands” is that which defines who we are as a Christian people, who we are as children of God.
Our life of faith is always being formed; it is always in a process of growth, striving towards perfection. Many years ago, when I was a young man, I prided myself on the many material possessions which I owned. At that time in my life, if our Lord had appeared to me and said, “…sell what you have, and give to the poor”, I would have most likely reacted the same way as this rich, young man did in today’s Gospel, for Scripture tells us that “…he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”
The material attractions which exist in our world today are very strong. Many people who end up winning one of the large cash lotteries ultimately find themselves cash poor in just a couple of years, for they spent all their winnings on material things which have no lasting value.
Now, I am not saying that there is anything inherently wrong with a nice car or clothes or a nice home, as long as we don’t find ourselves losing our souls over our greed for material possessions. However, when we begin to place material objects and our possession of them as a way of living our life, then they become our gods, and we begin to find ourselves living without prudence; we find ourselves lacking in wisdom in our everyday thoughts and activities.
In our First Reading today from the Book of Wisdom, we are taught about the great wealth which lies in the spirit of wisdom. And we also find in the Book of Sirach, from the Old Testament, God teaching us that “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the LORD; she is created with the faithful in the womb.” In the book of Proverbs, it is written, “Wisdom can remain silent in the discerning heart, but it is not known in the heart of fools.”
Wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is the gift which helps each of us to live a virtuous life, a life of faith, a life of love. It is the gift which perfects the virtue of charity within us, and helps you and me to discern God in all of His creation.
There is an old story about Saint Thomas Aquinas – One day toward the end of his life, he was praying before a crucifix, when the figure of Christ upon the crucifix spoke to him: “Thomas”, it said, “you have written well of me. What would you have as a reward?” Thomas answered: “Nothing, Lord, besides Yourself.”
Whether this story is fact or fiction, the point is that anyone who has studied the life of Saint Thomas Aquinas would conclude that Thomas was a wise man, not because he had mastered the world of learning, but because he knew that REAL wisdom was love of God and love for His Truth.
Wisdom is a most precious gift of the Holy Spirit, freely given by God to those who ask for it with faith. And that real wisdom is not looking for wealth or riches in a world which prides itself on materialistic pleasures. Rather, we find real wisdom in the love which we hold in the very center of our hearts for God and His Truth, and living His Love and Truth in our daily lives.
And, as children of God, we realize this wisdom by becoming followers of Jesus Christ. We live His Love and Truth through our personal and intimate relationship with our Lord and our Savior.
Jesus said to the rich man in today’s Gospel, and He repeats the same message to each of us, “…come, follow me.” And our response is not hidden from the eyes of God – the way we respond to His calling, the way we live our Christian faith in our day-to-day lives, the way in which we live our discipleship as a Christian people.
God knows our strengths and He knows our weaknesses. He knows what is best for us, and He knows what is not. God’s knowledge of our innermost being is reflected in our Second Reading today from the Letter to the Hebrews, “No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.”
In our everyday life, do we truly follow Jesus as He asks us? Do we place Him first and foremost in our every thought, word and deed? Or are we like the rich, young man in today’s Gospel who had everything to gain; but, in his greed and lack of wisdom, he walked away sad, losing the greatest Treasure of all?
Does the glow of materialism catch our eye and control our life, or does the Eternal Light of God’s Truth capture our heart and our soul? When we fail to recognize that the true Treasure of our lives is God’s Loving Presence within us, then we shackle ourselves to the gods of materialistic wealth here on Earth.
Jesus is saying to each and every one of us today, “…come, follow me.” Are you and I ready and willing to give up everything which separates us from the Love of God, so that we may possess the only Treasure which truly matters, the only Treasure which lasts for all eternity?
Our Lord’s call to each one of us today, and every day of our lives, is the call to embrace His Eternal Love – to put aside anything that would constitute an obstacle to living His Kingdom of Love within our hearts and souls here in this life.
Is it easy to live as God would have us live in today’s world? I am sure that we can each attest to the fact that there are times when it is difficult – that there may even be times when it seems impossible with all the demands and pressures that are placed upon us.
But as our Lord explains in our Gospel reading today, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” Jesus offers us an incomparable Treasure which no money can buy and no thief can steal – the only Treasure which truly satisfies the deepest longings of our heart.
With the help of God’s grace, may we choose to remain free from all inordinate and excessive feelings of discontent, possessiveness, greed and selfishness. And may we come to believe and rejoice in the secure knowledge and unshakeable faith that Jesus Christ is our only True Treasure, both here on Earth and in Heaven!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “As [Jesus] was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ (Mark 10:17)
- “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Mark 10:21-22)
- “Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’” (Mark 10:23)
- “The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’” (Mark 10:24-25)
- “They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.’” (Mark 10:26-27)
- “May the favor of the Lord our God be ours. Prosper the work of our hands! Prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17)
- “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the LORD; she is created with the faithful in the womb.” (Sirach 1:14)
- “Wisdom can remain silent in the discerning heart, but it is not known in the heart of fools.” (Proverbs 14:33)
- “I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her.” (Wisdom 7:7b-8)
- “LORD, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. You sift through my travels and my rest; with all my ways you are familiar…How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sands.” (Psalm 139:1b-3, 17-18a)
- “No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” (Hebrews 4:13)
- “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
- “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Luke 12:34)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord God, Creator of Heaven and Earth,Anonymous
You called us out of nothingness,
and created us in Your own Image.
You filled us with Your own life-giving Spirit,
inviting us to have a share in Your own Divinity,
so that we may be called Your spiritual sons and daughters.
“We thank you for the gift of life
and for the blessings You bestow upon us this day.
Help us to always stand in awe
at the Presence of Your Holy Majesty,
so that we may always sing the praises of Your glory
in all that we do throughout life.
“Truly, all things come from You,
And everything that is – was once nothing.
From the depths of Your Infinite Love,
You called us into being as Your children.
We worship You, O Lord, from the very depths of our existence,
for, in all that we are, we forever owe to You.
For You are truly our One and Only Treasure in life and in eternity. Amen.”