The Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
GO, SELL WHAT YOU HAVE AND GIVE TO THE POOR
Our readings this Sunday remind us that achievement of salvation is beyond human capability and depends solely on the goodness of God who offers it as a gift.
In our first reading (Wisdom 7:7-11), King Solomon prayed and the Spirit of Wisdom came to him. He preferred the Spirit of Wisdom over all wealth, power, pleasure and prestige. And yet, all good things came to him through Wisdom.
I prayed, and prudence was given me; 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, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.
In our Gospel reading (Mark 10:17-30), we hear of a righteous young man who wished to be saved. He went away sad because his possessions meant more to him than salvation itself. Jesus taught his disciples that wealth and possessions were a distraction that could lead them away from the Kingdom of God.
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." Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
In our Epistle reading (Hebrews 4:12-13), we learn that the Word of God (Jesus) penetrates our very soul. Nothing is hidden from him. It is he who knows all and it is to him we must render an account.
Brothers and sisters: Indeed 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. 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 today's Gospel, Jesus tells us our possessions will not save us, only God can save us. Our attachment to the things of this world will distract us from complete dependence and obedience to God. It may be time to consider - Do our possessions possess us? Or can we detach our selves from the things of this world to focus completely on the Kingdom God?
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