Here is my homily for the weekend. God bless all!
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
October 13/14, 2018
Wisdom 7:7-11; Hebrews 4:12-13; Mark 10:17-30
“Why do you call me good? There is only one who is good, God alone.” (Mk 10:18) We all want what is good in life: a good home, good health, a good husband or wife, good children, good food to eat, a good education. God has created us this way, with a strong desire to choose good things and avoid the bad.
In our desire for goodness, we can get caught up in putting lesser goods in front of the greater good. We can fill our lives with what you might call necessary but lesser good things. Jesus reminds us that the ultimate good is God.
Have you ever considered that God loves you so much that he is calling you to live an excellent life, not a mediocre one, not merely following the commandments, but to love with all your heart and mind and soul?
We heard a wonderful story in the Gospel today of the young man who came running up to Jesus, fell to his knees and blurted out, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
It seems he was a very good man who had worked hard in his life and enjoyed the fruits of his labor. He earned what he possessed. He obeyed the commandments. He was an upright man and probably had a good reputation. His life was filled with good things. But he knew he lacked something; he wanted something more, something far more excellent. He was held back in some way that he couldn’t understand.
The man lacked, and Jesus knew it, the freedom to love deeply. He had chosen and obtained many good things. He had made plenty of good choices, but he lacked the freedom to pursue what was most excellent . He was held back by his possessions.
Despite his efforts and good intentions, he was a slave to his possessions. He was unable to pursue what was truly excellent, to freely love God and neighbor.
Notice the Jesus looked at him and “loved” him. Jesus challenged him to become free. Jesus said, “If you seek perfection, go, sell what you have and give to the poor and then follow me.”
What happened? The man couldn’t do it. He couldn’t let go. He lost his focus on Jesus, which he had for a moment, and he went away sad, “for he had many possessions.” He settled for lesser goods when he could have had the greater.
Yes, all of us are called to excellence, to union with God in the love of Jesus Christ. God is looking at you, as he looked at the young man, and he loves you. He is calling you to an excellence that is beyond your imagination. He is asking you to put aside anything that would distract you, hold you back from keeping our focus on him. He wants you to look at him and to consciously orient what you do, what you say, and what you think to the ultimate good in life.
No, we do not have to go and empty our bank accounts, or give away everything. But we do have to ask ourselves what is there that distracts us from God. What is it in our lives that we hold so dear that we would hang on to it rather than to hang on to God’s love. What is so important to us that we cling to it as if it were God himself? What ever that may be, we may need to let it go.
I would offer you a challenge: for just 5 minutes a day, every day, consciously set aside all you possessions, all your distractions, and as completely as you can focus on the greatest of all goods, the real excellence in this world – the love of God in Jesus Christ. For 5 minutes give everything you have to Jesus. See what happens. In time, you will experience a freedom unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
For just 5 minutes a day, every day, pray in that way, love in that way. It will change your life.