October 10 – Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The theme of today’s gospel is obviously detachment. We are told that a man ran up to Jesus and asked him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus tells him to obey the commandments. The man responds that he has done that since his youth. Jesus, looking at him, loved him, as he does us, 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 the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. It is hard to give up those things we treasure. Our possessions sometimes possess us! And it’s not only material things…..we sometimes can’t let go of grudges, attitudes, silly traditions, our pettiness, etc. Jesus goes on to say how hard it is for those with wealth 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. Amazed, the disciples ask, who can be saved? Jesus tells them, and us who can’t let go of our possessions, that for human beings it is impossible, but not for God. This means that if we cooperate with God’s grace, we will be so overwhelmed with God’s love, that it will be possible to let go of our possessions. Try it!
Today is my 40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood….October 10, 1981. Continuing with the gospel of today, Peter says to Jesus that “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus responds saying “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….”
In 40 years of priesthood, I have seen this scripture passage fulfilled in my life! I give praise to God for how my life has been blessed with many parishioners in my past seven parish assignments, and now all of you at Our Lady of Mercy, who have opened your homes to me. Been there as a mother or father, brother or sister to me in times of struggles and joys! Have given me the opportunity to be a part of your family celebrations, neighborhood parties, and console you in times of sorrow. Through your laughter, tears, ups and downs, shared memories you have brought me closer to God. I only hope and pray that, despite my unworthiness, you have been brought closer to God through the power given to me in my ordination to absolve you from your sins, and to feed you with the very Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Thank you, and God Bless You!