Saturday, October 14, 2006
28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
OCTOBER 15, 2006
28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - B
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.
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.
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 today's Gospel, the rich young man wants everlasting life on his
own terms. He wants no sacrifice of personal wealth. He links his
identity to his financial condition; he sees them as prospering or
declining together. He goes away sad because he wants to follow
Jesus but not at that price.
Jesus concludes: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a
needle then for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." How does
this apply to a congregation that is by a large financially
The disciples were astonished at Jesus' words. It seemed that Jesus
was saying it's impossible for anyone to enter the kingdom of
heaven. What made it more puzzling was the strong Jewish belief that
wealth was a sign of God's blessing. Remember God blessed Job at the
end of his trial with twice as much as he had before. Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, all were rich men; for God enriched those he loved.
But there is another side to it - a side of Jesus that makes us
hesitate about the harsher words. As far as we know, he never told
Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, to give up all they had. He
did not tell Nicodemus and Joseph of Arithmathea that they were not
candidates for the kingdom of heaven. When the rich Zacchaeus
announced, "Behold, Lord, I give to the poor half my belonging" (not
all, just half), Jesus told him, "Today, salvation has come to this
house ." Zacchaeus' giving up half his possession was enough to
inherit the kingdom.
What might all this say to you and me today? On the one hand, the
radical Jesus must never cease to challenge us. Nothing, absolutely
nothing, should take precedence over Christ in my life, his right to
rule over my heart. But experience tells us that there is a danger
in any possession that it can become the center of our life. It
can direct our life, manipulate us, and enslave us. When that
happens, Christ takes second place. We don't listen, we don't hear
his call to go give it all up or only half, to care and to share, to
let go. The radical Jesus poses a perennial question: What rules
our life the camel or the kingdom?
On the other hand, the moderate Jesus fixes our eyes on something
wonderfully positive. That is the gift we have in anything we
possess is ultimately God's gift. Even if it stems from our own
fantastic talent, that talent owes its origin to God. But a gift of
God is not given to be protected as our sole possession; it is given
to be given. In this lies the secret of Christian possibilities.
How can we ever reconcile our riches with God's kingdom, our
possessions with Christ's command to let go? "With men and women,"
Jesus said, "it is impossible, but not with God: for all things are
possible with God."
In the history of the Church, countless saints and martyrs have been
called to follow the radical Christ. But for most of us, the call of
the moderate Christ is more likely. We see this in the men and women
who share their earnings with church and charity projects; in those,
who volunteer one or two years of their lives to work among the poor;
in the doctors, who give up their best clinic hours on Saturdays to
take care of the poor in charity clinics; in the young men and women,
who answer the call to serve as priests and religious.
My brothers and sister, the poor surround us. They walk our
streets. Poor in so many ways, they need not only food but also, and
more specially faith, not just cash but caring; not merely social
security, but also the touch of love. For the sake of the kingdom,
for our own salvation and theirs, don't forget the poor!
We pray -
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the speedy recovery and healing of Manuel Go.
- for the speedy recovery and healing of Domingo.
- for the speedy recovery and healing of Myra.
- for the speedy recovery and healing of Gini's mother.
- for the personal intentions and safekeeping of Belen Legaspi.
- for the personal intentions of Mila San Juan, Alex and Yolanda
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- In Memoriam (+): Felix A. Estrada
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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