28th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
Our first reading is in praise of Wisdom. It is presented as a speech of Solomon. It is not to be confused with intelligence or cleverness. To be ‘wise’ carries with it a deep sense of the experience of life. It gives an understanding of what things are important and less so.
It comes from engaging in life and learning the lessons presented there.
The passage from Hebrews tell us: “The Word of God is something ALIVE and ACTIVE”. When we think of the power of the human word for good or evil – the good of the Word of God is beyond understanding.
In the Gospel, St Mark paints a vivid picture of a rich young man meeting Jesus and asking him: “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus ignores the flattery and gives the standard answer: “Keep the commandments!” In his own words, this young person was an honest-to-goodness sincere individual. But he feels he should do more than “the standard requirement”. So the challenge is made. Jesus looks steadily at him and loved him …”There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” “But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth”.
For this rich young man, the cost of discipleship was too great. He would have to renounce his security and the prestige his wealth brought him; he wasn’t to give his money to his family and friends but to the poor and he would have treasure in heaven. He is sad and disappointed and returns to the very wealth that prevents him being a disciple of Jesus.
Notice that Jesus makes no attempt to prevent him going away and we never heard of him again! Jesus had seen the great potential in this young man, but also saw where his real loyalty was – in his riches.
Then Jesus goes on to say: “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God”! In other words: if our possessions are more important than our love for God or neighbour, then our priorities are one-sided. Also the fact is that nobody can achieve eternal life on the basis of our own human effort. Our salvation and eternal life depends solely on the mercy and power of God.
We live in a society which measures success in terms of economic growth and security; a society which rewards the rich with more riches. Nothing succeeds life excess!
The danger is that we allow power and profit to dictate our values. The Gospel asks us to reflect on this matter. Detachment from possessions is essence. If our identity is equated with our possession, who are we when our possessions are taken from us? We may be afraid that if we have nothing, we are nothing! What could be further from the truth? Here we have much to ponder on!
Have a pleasant and safe week, God bless, Fr Joe.