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Homilies :: Latin Rite
Sunday of the 28th Week in the Ordinary Time Download This Homily

October 14, 2018

Sunday of the 28th Week in the Ordinary Time


Wisdom 7: 7-11,

 Hebrews 4: 12-13,

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?"  Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." 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.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" 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."  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."

 

Letting Go

 

Here is a story that says in Africa and some places in India, the natives use a unique technique to catch monkeys. They hollow out one end of a coconut and they put peanuts in there (a ceramic jar with some fruit or nuts in it. The mouth of the jar is small, so that the open hand of the monkey can slip through.). The monkey puts his hand in the coconut and when he makes a fist to grab the peanuts, he's trapped. The natives will pull a string attached to the other end of the coconut and capture the monkey. Even when the people are coming to catch him, he will not let go of his favourite treats and run to freedom.  Despite having at his command the means to escape, it does not — it holds its hand grasping the food until the hunter captures it. The monkey will not “let Go” what he has gained. Letting go what we have is necessary to gain greater things.


A young man comes running to Jesus. He asks Jesus, what he must do to inherit eternal life. He comes running, because he feels the urgency and the necessity of it. This rich young man who wanted to follow Jesus had an abundance of everything one needed. There was something essential, something in his heart that material wealth couldn't satisfy. And so he came to Jesus, the miracle-worker, the rabbi everyone was talking about, to find what was missing, and he didn't have the deep sense of meaning, purpose, and interior peace that he longed for. First, he reminds the young man of the importance of moral wealth by reviewing the basic commandments. The young man was following all the commandments. Jesus loved him for that.

The spirituality of Jesus is beyond observing the laws. Its not enough for a person to follow the rules and regulations, its only first step. “I haven’t done anything wrong, nor any harm to anyone” This was the feeling of the young man. But question of Jesus is, “What good you have done?” Not doing any wrong is not sufficient. Not doing anything good for others, which you could have done with all your wealth, strength, power and knowledge is also a grave mistake.


Jesus tells him- You lack one thing. Go and sell everything you have and give to the poor, the people who are in need, and follow me. It’s an invitation to follow him, even if it means giving up material wealth, popularity, and pleasure, in order to discover the true wealth that our souls desire. So when Jesus challenged him to make God his one true possession and treasure, he became dismayed. Its difficult to ‘let go’ what one has gained.

Albert Einstein, the great scientist who taught the theory of relativity says another relativity theory about wealth- as the wealth of a person increases, in that relation his happiness decreases.


Why did he go away from Jesus with sadness rather than with joy?  His treasure and his hope for happiness were misplaced. Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. The Lord himself is the greatest treasure we can have. Giving up everything else to have the Lord as our treasure is not something sorrowful, but thegreatest joy. See Jesus' parable about the treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13:44). Selling all that we have could mean many different things--our friends, our job, our "style" of life, what we do with our free time. Jesus challenged the young man because his heart was possessive. He was afraid to give to others for fear that he would lose what he had gained. God blesses us with spiritual goods that far outweigh the fleeting joys of material goods. He alone can satisfy the deepest longing and desires of our heart. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from seeking true joy with Jesus?


Pope Benedict XVI mentioned this in his trip to the United States in 2008. Speaking to the bishops gathered there in Washington, DC, he said: “It is easy to be entranced by the almost unlimited possibilities that science and technology place before us; it is easy to make the mistake of thinking we can obtain by our own efforts the fulfilment of our deepest needs. This is an illusion. Without God, who alone bestows upon us what we by ourselves cannot attain, our lives are ultimately empty. People need to be constantly reminded to cultivate a relationship with him who came that we might have life in abundance.”


The scriptures give us a paradox: we lose what we keep and we gain what we give away. Your abundance is your limitation. Our wealth, the praise and appreciations we receive very often blind us. Once a bishop who was well appreciated by people lamented – Christ was rejected wherever he went, he was pushed out of synagogues. But wherever I go, people receive me with respect, bowing their heads and kissing my hands. There must be something wrong with me.


Wealth can make us falsely independent.  The church at Laodicea was warned about their attitude towards wealth and a false sense of security:  "For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing" (Revelations 3:17). Wealth can also lead us into hurtful desires and selfishness. St. Paul writes to Timothy – Love of money is the root of all evils. (1 Tim. 6:9-10).  Look at the lesson Jesus gave about the rich man and his sons who refused to aid the poor man Lazarus (Luke 16:19ff).


The young man went sorrowful, for he had great possessions. The disciples of Jesus also find this Letting Go, this leaving everything difficult to follow.  “Who can be saved?”  Jesus looked at them and looking at you and me, is saying, “For a human being it is impossible, but not for God. With God all things are possible.”


It is that love, that promise we will find when we run to him and ask for eternal life.


Dr. James M L CMI


Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

May God Bless you

Fr. James M L CMI

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.


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