Monday, October 8, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018 - The Rich Young Man

The Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time  - Year B

Reading I: Wisdom 7:7-11

Psalm: 90

Reading II: Hebrews 4:12-13

Gospel: Mark 10:17-30

What might have been? This Sunday’s Gospel relates a sad incident in the life of Jesus and a rich young man. The young man had been living a good life, however, in admiring Jesus, he was inspired to generosity. Yet, when he approached Jesus asking what more he could do, he found Jesus’ challenge “to sell all he had, give to the poor, and follow him” was more than he could accept.

Jesus looked lovingly at the youth, but must have been disappointed that his earthly possessions had somehow taken possession of this good young man. These temporary goods were being valued above a close relationship with Jesus and the opportunity to share in his mission of bringing the Good News to many.

I can imagine that a great struggle continued inside the youth. He wanted to do more, but he was not willing to give the total gift of himself. If only he had shared his struggle with Jesus instead of walking away sad, Jesus could have helped him.

Jesus then turned to his disciples and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” In spite of the fact that we cannot take material things with us when we die, the attraction to possessions and the comfort and security they can provide is very strong. Jesus compared the challenge of giving up riches to a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle.  The reference to the “eye of a needle” is a very narrow passage in a mountainous area.

Sometimes, we also are challenged to give up something for a greater good, and we, too, struggle with decisions. Let us remember that the Lord can help us. A beautiful hymn by the Jesuits is “Take, Lord, Receive.”

Take, Lord, Receive
From: Earthen Vessels Album by St. Louis Jesuits 
                                              Take, Lord, receive.
                                              all my liberty
                                              My memory, understanding, 
                                              my entire will!
                                              Give me only your LOVE,
                                              and your Grace,
                                              that's enough for me!
                                              Your love and your grace,
                                              are enough for me!
                                              Take Lord, receive,
                                              All I have and possess.
                                              You have given unto me,
                                              Now I return it.
                                              Give me only your love, 
                                              and your grace,
                                              that's enough for me!
                                              Your love and your grace,
                                              are enough for me!
                                             Take Lord, receive,
                                              all is yours now.
                                              Dispose of it,
                                              wholly according to your will.
                                              Give me only your love, and your grace,
                                              that's enough for me!
                                              Your love and your grace,
                                              are enough for me!

  Reflection Question:   Is there something that you find difficult to give up for the greater good?  If so, ask the Lord’s help.

In his inspirational message of September 30, 2018, in a series titled, “Stay Focused on God’s Plan for your Life,” Pastor Rick Warren states that, over the course of his ministry, thousands of people told him that they want to be used by God. Pastor Warren’s response was that they will never be used by God because they are too busy. They have their own agendas, plans, dreams, and ambitions and they just don’t have any time. I’m embarrassed to admit, but that sounds like me, trying to carve out a small amount of time for God in my daily routine. 
Your comment, Sr. Annette, regarding the rich young man, “If only he had shared his struggle with Jesus instead of walking away sad, Jesus could have helped him,” correlates to what Rick Warren writes. “If you’re serious about being used by God, you have to say, ‘Lord, what do I need to let go of? What do I need to cut out? What barriers are holding me back and keeping me from running the race you have for me?’ “ 
One of the biggest things that hold us back from God’s plan for us is distractions. Jesus’ words in Luke 9:62, roughly state that anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work God has planned for him is not fit for the kingdom of God. There are so many distractions in our daily life. One of which is our attachment to our material possessions. 
October 4th was the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. The Entrance Antiphon for that day reads, “Francis, the man of God, left his home behind, abandoned his inheritance and became poor and penniless, but the Lord raised him up.” For those of us who enjoy material comforts, Francis’ total abandonment may seem undoable. If our focus is on material wealth, we may be blinded to Christ’s Presence in those in need around us. We see the joy of simple living in Pope Francis. He models conformity to Christ in poverty of spirit and humility. Perhaps the message for us is to live simply, give generously and love lavishly.
The words of Jesus today invite reflection. As Fr. James A. Wallace writes, “It is hard to enter the Kingdom if you have a lot. If your hands – and your heart – are already full with possessions and obsessions, there might not be any room for God’s presence…These words call us to think about what we have, and what has us. They invite us to discern what holds our hearts captive.”
Pat C., ASBS

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