Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 5:34 PM
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Homily, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Wisdom 7:7-11; Hebrew 4:12-13; Mark 10:17-30

Computers have become a big part of our everyday life. We cannot do without them but so are the issues connected with them. Online threats are on the rise, and they do not discriminate organizations from individuals when looking for a target. So many people seem to be trying to scam us or get access to our personal or financial information.  It is not just annoying, it’s scary. Some scams that come into our In-Box are pretty obvious like those coming from bizarre addresses or flagged as “spam”.  But others are clever, at least in getting us to open the email. They entice us to open the attachment.  Attachments from an untrustworthy source can be so damaging. 

“…..and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”

Dear friends, in today’s gospel, we just heard one of those stories that we are very familiar with, the story of the rich man who asks Jesus what he needs to do to inherit eternal life.  This is one of those stories that is unsettling for many of us.  The reason is simple --- most of us see a lot of ourselves in the rich man even if we aren’t necessarily “rich”.  We can identify with his concerns, wondering whether or not we will live with God for all eternity.  And we can also identify with how he sums up his life.  He’s basically a good guy (like us).  He, for the most part, follows the commandments (like we do).  He’s not going around hurting people or defrauding them (like us).  Isn’t that enough?

As we all know, it is difficult to give up that which we hold dear – the things that make us comfortable and provide convenience, the things that represent our accomplishments, the things that give us status and make us proud. Even the disciples, who had indeed left their families, homes and possessions behind to follow Jesus, could not fathom that anyone could possibly inherit eternal life. Jesus acknowledges that it is impossible for any of us to do it on our own. But the Lord also tells us that we are not on our own. We can rely on God to help us break free from temporal goods we treasure, because all things are possible for God.  He assures us that if we give up things for his sake, if we rely on him totally and choose him above all else, we will receive a hundred times more now in this present age.

We’ve all got attachments. They come in all forms, and we cling to them like we’re dangling off a cliff.  Hanging tightly on to them is not a safe place to be. They will only bring disappointment and a profound lack of the joy we are all so desperately seek. The man in the gospel lived a moral life yet felt that something was holding him back. The depth of spiritual life was eluding him because something stood in the way. Jesus spotted that “something” right away and said, “You are lacking in one thing…” and the Lord knew that what he lacked was freedom. He was possessed by his possessions. He was totally attached to his attachments.

What are your unhealthy attachments?  What are those things that stand in the way of our deeper following of Christ? Maybe it is a person or a job.  Maybe it is power or material wealth.  Maybe it is an addiction.  Maybe it is a harmful attitude, or a deep-seated prejudice, or a sense of entitlement.  And these can be so tempting, just like the ones that come in our email!

Our first reading from the Book of Wisdom relates what was foremost in the mind and heart of Solomon when he became king of the Chosen People at a tender age. Somehow, Solomon knew that every material thing would be useless to him if he did not think and rule wisely. Consequently, he asked God to give him wisdom – because wisdom includes prudence, insight, discernment, and objectivity. Nevertheless, because Solomon made such decisions, many material blessings came to him as a result!

Wisdom is God’s greatest gift; it provides true insight into how to lead life with integrity- a gift more precious than silver or gold. Let’s pray for Wisdom – for the grace to let nothing keep us from what Jesus asks of us. And may we walk each day with him who is Wisdom itself!

 

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