Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Fr. Ruben Villalon-Rivera
Reading 1: Wis. 7:7-11
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
Reading 2: Heb. 4:12-13
Alleluia: Mt. 5:3
Gospel: Mk. 10:17-30
Today’s readings invite us all not to be something in the world, but to be someone in the world, someone with a mission that comes from God himself, and that requires detachment.
All of us are familiar with the story of King Solomon, before he was appointed to rule the people of God he prayed. Hi did not pray to gain power, riches, and so on, his prayer was more not to be just something for the people, but to be someone who could really serve them with wisdom and prudence, (1 Kg. 3:7). God was pleased with that prayer and replied to Solomon, “You have made the right choice” (1 Kg. 3: 11).
Human beings often place the source of happiness in earthly possessions; can be power, money, or pleasure, leaving aside transcendental values. The young boy in the gospel of Mark possessed a lot of earthly wealth. In this case his wealth is getting in the way to serve Jesus, to follow him. Jesus invited this boy to be one of his disciples. It was an especial encounter with the personified wisdom of God. The one from who comes every good thing, (Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus was not just something, but someone, the only begotten Son of God, the incarnate wisdom. Jesus always made the right choices. He chose to carry the Cross for us; he chose to die for us.
It is only in Jesus, in God, in his way, that man can truly find his joy. This boy was looking for something different, he had all he wanted but was lacking only one thing, detachment.
In Eastern Christian Monasticism detachment was a practice, which helped the person to cultivate virtue so as to calm the passions and live in an ongoing state of calm. In Western Christianity Saint Ignatius of Loyola encourages detachment, to what is known to him as “Indifference” so that the person may maximize their availability to God and neighbor. Obviously this boy inherited a wealth from his parents, but he never learned the value of detachment.
Jesus told this boy to do five things: 1. Go; 2 sell; 3 give; 4 come; 5 follow me. This boy received the same call that the disciples did; Matthew left the tax money in the table and follow Jesus. The rest of the disciples left the fishing company they had and follow Jesus; they knew to detach themselves from things. Because, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self,” (Lk. 9: 25). We need to be someone and the world and not become something with the world, which requires detachment.
If we think about it, most of us would rather win the Power-Ball or something like that that becoming a saint and a follower of Christ. Every now and then we heard about someone who detached themselves from everything to follow Christ.
When his parents died an eighteen years boy inherited three hundred acres of land and the responsibility to take care of a younger sister. In one of those days he went to Church and heard the reading form the gospel of Matthew, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me,” (Mt. 19:21). He walked out the Church and began to share his possessions with those who need it most. He make sure that his sister will have what she needed to survive, then entrusted his sister to a convent so that he could go to a deserted place to live a life of prayer, fasting and work in manual labor. It was not enough for him to listen to the words of Jesus in the Gospel; he had to do what Jesus commanded the boy in today’s reading. Go, sell, give, come and follow me!!! I’m talking about Saint Anthony Abbot; he had a big desire to heard words of wisdom from people but with the desire to become like that person. If he saw a great virtue in someone like, (Patience, prayer, and so on) he would imitate that and went back home to practice it. He became someone with a mission that comes from God rather than being something else with the world.
There you have it, two different boys, same circumstances; they both inherited a lot of wealth from their parents, but they had very different reactions. The boy in today’s gospel was possessed by with worldly attachments, “At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions,” (Mk. 10:22).
Saint Anthony was not attached to the possession, he was able to follow those five commands form Jesus, and both received a call from Christ, only one followed him!
Today like in the past, Jesus continues to call us to make good choices, radical choices. To ask for wisdom rather than the possessions of earthly things:
“I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,” (Wis. 7:7-8).
Because where your heart is, there is also your treasure!!!!