Deacon Bob’s Homily 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle B

Here is my homily for this weekend.

Audio: 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle B

October 13/14, 2012

Wis. 7:7-11; Heb. 4: 12-13; Mk. 10: 17-30

My dad was quite a card player. He loved to play a game called Pfeiffer which some of you may know. It was similar to Hearts. My dad was a guy that when dealt a hand of cards the rest of us would refuse to bid on, he would “bid’em up” as he would say. He would bid high, take big risks because he wanted the prize. Invariably, he would win with cards the rest of us would have thought would have gotten him nowhere. Dad was brave enough to take the risk. He was willing to let go of what he had so that he might pursue what was greater and more splendid.

What did I learn from my dad’s card playing? There are times in life when you simply have to make a decision.  Do I go for it or do I play it safe? Do I let go of everything, or do I hang on to what I have? Do I go for what is promised but as of yet is unseen?

The young man in today’s Gospel reading faced those questions. He could have taken the risk, accepted the challenge and taken the plunge. But he stayed safely behind.

Are you willing to risk it? Are you brave enough?

“There is something more you must do. Go sell what you have and give to the poor; then come follow me.”

When we hear those words, we will want to think Jesus was just using a hyperbole, an exaggerated expression, to get the point across that we must be attentive to poor people. But you know something, Jesus meant exactly what he said, no hyperbole. He said it to the young man, and the young man understood full well Jesus meant what he had said. That is why he walked away from the challenge; that is why he couldn’t take the risk; that is why he refused the invitation to a deeper calling, to a deeper relationship with God.

“Master, what must we do to inherit eternal life?” The Gospel tells us that we all must obey the Ten Commandments and the laws of human nature. That is common to all of us. What is particular to us as individuals will be the answer God gives us when we ask, “What must I do to share in eternal life?” Each of us must ask God this question. You must ask it. God will give you an answer that is particularly suited to you and your vocation just like he did with the young man. His answer will be challenging.

Our second reading reminds us that the Word of God cuts deeply. It is incisive. It penetrates and divides. It distinguishes what is true from what is not. God’s word goes deeply. It is not superficial or temporary. It does evaporate in seconds nor minimal in its effects. No, the Word of God, Jesus Christ, risked all for our sake. He gave everything away so that we might live, and live fully.

In our first reading from the book of Wisdom, did you listen to the beginning of each of the sentences: “I prayed.” “I pleaded.” “I loved.” “I chose.” The writer of this book in the Bible is referring to the Wisdom of God. He says that we must pray for and plead to receive God’s wisdom, his plan in other words for our lives. He says that once we are given that wisdom, that plan, we then must choose to follow it and love what God has planned for us. God’s plan is true wisdom.

So plead, pray, chose and love God’s plan for your life.

Are you willing to take the risk and follow God’s plan? Are you brave enough? Look at all the opportunities we have today to do this. God’s plan is that marriage by its very nature consists of the union of one man and one woman. Are we willing to protect it? Are we willing to vote “yes” on the Marriage Protection Amendment this November?  God’s plan is that all human life, which he creates, be loved and accepted into life. Are we willing to eliminate abortion in our nation? Are we willing to support pregnant women so they can bring those unborn babies into the world? God’s plan is that we live in peace, not war. Are we willing to forgive one another? Really forgive even if it costs us everything? God’s plan is that we feed the poor, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless. Are we willing to sacrifice our comfort so that the alien in our midst may be warm and well-fed? God’s plan is that we respect our elders. Do we visit those in nursing homes and hospitals? Do we ask for the advice of our parents and grandparents?

Yes, obey the commandments and accept the teachings of the Church and respect the natural law given us by God. Then pray, plead, choose and love that to which these commandments and laws point, for they point to the love of God and the love of neighbor.

God asks you today, “Are you willing to take the risk? Are you willing to go the distance? Are you willing to go into the deep, to plummet the depths, and to reach out to heaven itself? Will you settle for something less that eternal life?”

Accept nothing less… not gold nor silver, not lands nor possessions. Don’t be distracted and deceived by the things of this world! Accept God’s challenge. Trust him. Love him.

“There is one more thing you must do. Go, sell what you have and give to the poor; then come follow me!”

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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