October 11, 2015

28th Sun. in Ordinary Time

October 11, 2015:  Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Do you see fifteen connections with today?
Legend below

Today's "rich young man" gospel is built around "three gazes of Jesus":
    • His intense gaze full of tenderness and affection, when the man expressed that for him observance of the precepts is not enough, since it doesn't meet with his desire for wholeness.  Jesus, understanding the man's weakness, concretely proposed he give his possessions to the poor and follow him, but the man's heart was torn between two masters, God and money, and he went away sad.  You can't live the faith and be attached to wealth.
    • The thoughtful gaze of warning:  “How hard it is for the wealthy to enter God's kingdom.”
    • The look of encouragement, the one that says, “if we free ourselves from the slavery of things, we gain freedom to serve for love.”  The man didn't let himself be won over by Jesus’ loving gaze and so couldn't change.  Only by accepting the Lord's love with humble gratitude can we free ourselves from the seduction of idols and the blindness of our illusions.
Have you felt Jesus' gaze?  What do you say to it?  Do you prefer the joy Jesus gives us or the sadness caused by worldliness?
  • Wis 7:7-11  I prayed, and wisdom came to me.  I deemed riches nothing in comparison with her.  I loved her and chose to have her rather than light.  All good things came to me in her company, and riches at her hands.
  • Ps 90:12-17  "Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!"  Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom.  Let your work be seen by your servants.  Prosper the work of our hands!
  • Heb 4:12-13  God's word is living, effective, sharper than a sword, and able to discern thoughts.  Everything is exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
  • Mk 10:17-30  Kneeling man / Jesus:  "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" / "Why do you call me good?  Only God is good.  You know the commandments...."  / "I've kept them all from my youth." / "You lack one thing:  Go, sell what you have, give to the poor, and you'll have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."  He went away sad, for he had many possessions.  Jesus / disciples:  "How hard it is for the wealthy to enter God's kingdom!  It's easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye." / "Then who can be saved?" / "For people it's impossible, but for God all is possible."  Peter / Jesus:  "We've given up everything and followed you." / "Everyone who's given up house, family, and land for my sake and the gospel's  will receive a hundredfold in this age:  houses, family, and land, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
      Christ and the rich young ruler/ Hofmann
    • Creighton:  Jesus challenges the rich man out of love:  “sell what you have, give to the poor, then follow me.”  Jesus invited him to be his disciple, but he declined, unwilling to part from his possessions, though we'll never know whether he reconsidered.  We are also called to be disciples and need to assess what we need to “sell” so we can respond unimpeded.  Jesus told him, “Only God is good.”  May we focus on God, not possessions, gifts, or  accomplishments.   Lord, bless us with the desire to answer your call, and remain with us as we carry it out....
    • One Bread One Body:  "The Last Commandment":  If we love Jesus, we'll obey him, so a life of love is "a life of obedience."  The last command is a "must," hard, humanly impossible, and often includes persecution.  The devil will do everything he can to make it hard for us to obey the Lord's last command.  The key to our obedience is reliance on God's grace.  The love Lord fills us with impels us to obey.  The one "who holds out to the end will see salvation."
    • Passionist:  Mark uses “the way” to remind us Jesus is on “the way” to Jerusalem and the cross.  A man runs to Jesus with his question.  Jesus' loving gaze is an invitation to follow him, but the man went away sad.
    Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, in Sacred Fire [e-book], offers an insight:  Life, and Christian discipleship, has its stages and struggles:  youth, maturity, old age.  “The call to follow in Christ's footsteps takes on a unique character during each of these struggles.”  At each stage God meets us and invites us differently to follow him:  In youthful discipleship, we struggle to get our lives together, to find our identity and relate to others, our riches.  The man tells Jesus he's kept the commandments from his “youth.”  In mature discipleship, we struggle to give our lives away, in marriage, children, community, church, service....  Jesus meets the man here and calls him to give his life away, but the man feels the need to cling to his riches.  In radical discipleship, we struggle to give our death away.  Jesus shows this to us in his generous actions up to and including the cross, his greatest gift.  Jesus calls us with love to follow him whatever stage we're in, whatever our struggle, on "the way" that leads to Calvary.
      Jesus and the rich man
    • DailyScripture.net:  The young man wanted peace and happiness money can't buy but was possessive of what he had.  His treasure and hope were misplaced.  Treasure is connected to the heart, the place of desire, will, and focus.  The Lord is the greatest treasure we can have, so giving other things up for him should be joyful, whether it's letting go of attachments, friendships, influences, jobs, entertainments, or lifestyle....  Those generous towards God and neighbor find they can't outmatch God's generosity.  God blesses us with freedom from fear, the power of sin, selfishness, pride, loneliness, isolation, rejection, despair, and disillusionment.  God offers us treasure money can't buy and satisfies our heart's deepest longing.
    The camel was regarded as the largest animal in Palestine; the "eye of the needle" could be interpreted literally or could describe the narrow city gate travelers used after dark.  You, or a camel, would have to "lower" yourself to enter.  Wealth can make us falsely independent or lead us to hurtful desires.  We lose what we keep but gain what we give away.  Generosity will be repaid now and forever.  Where's my treasure?
      • St. John XXIII, pope from 1958-1963, called Vatican II
      • St. Canice (Cainnech, Kenneth), apostle of Ireland.
      • Bl. William Howard, "Popish Plot" martyr:  "God forgive those who have falsely sworn against me."
    Dress legend
    • 'Owl' tie pin:  I prayed, and wisdom came to me. (1st reading); teach us to number our days so we may gain wisdom (psalm)
    • 'Gem' tie pin:  I didn't liken any priceless gem to wisdom... (1st reading)
    • Gold- and silver-colored accessories:  ...because gold, in view of wisdom, is sand, and silver is to be accounted mire (1st reading)
    • 'Hand' pin:  Riches came to me at wisdom's hands. (1st reading); prosper the work of our hands (psalm)
    • NEW 'Treble clef' pin with cross inside:  "Fill us with Your love, and we'll sing for joy!" (psalm)
    • 'Abacus' tie pin:  Teach us to number our days... (psalm)
    • 'Jubilee year' pin:  Fill us with your kindness, that we may shout for joy (psalm)
    • 'Sword' tie pin:  God's word is sharper than any sword (2nd reading)
    • 'Hearts' suspenders:  God's word can discern reflections and thoughts of the heart (2nd reading)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  Everything is exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account (2nd reading)
    • 'Commandments' tie:  You know the commandments... (gospel)
    • 'Coin' button:  Sell everything, give to the poor, and you'll have treasure in heaven.  How hard for the wealthy to enter God's kingdom (gospel)
    • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season 

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