TWENTY EIGHT SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
One activity that is common to humanity is the pursuit of happiness and, for the God-oriented, the quest for eternal life. In this pursuit, many may believe that happiness comes from having things. Yet, how many times have we heard, in the News, that a person, who had everything—holidays overseas, large houses, garages full of expensive cars, fine clothes, the best food—committed suicide. They had all things imaginable and yet they felt that their life was so empty that they had to end it. What wisdom we have from St. Augustine, when he said, “My soul is restless until it rests in Thee.”
On this 27th Sunday in ordinary times, we hear the story of a very rich man, who came running to Jesus, and asked him, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This man was searching for a peaceful, happy, and joyful spirit, but Jesus, seeing through his heart, saw that “material stuff” had a stronghold on him and was holding him hostage. He therefore asked the man to “let go and let God”, but the man found this too much of a task to behold, fell into depression, and left, very sad. He was so close to the kingdom and yet too far away from it, because of what he was clinging to.
Hearing this story, our minds may drift off to the rich and famous, but that would be hypocritical because it is about all of us. Go to “Globalrichlist.com”, enter your yearly income, and see how you stack up against the world’s population. You may find out that you rank in the upper 25% of those richer than 99% of the world’s population. Do you know that 85% of the world’s population lives on about $2,100 a year? So, this parable is most likely about us, because it is about hoarding, grabbing, selfishness, and not sharing stuff. It is about good moral character, integrity, believe in Jesus, having a desire to go to heaven, and at the same time holding onto to selfishness, greed, and not being willing to surrender to the Lord. It is about thinking that we can self-justify ourselves into the kingdom of heaven.
In our call to discipleship, Christ does not want a certain amount of our time, or a certain amount of our money, or a certain amount of our work. He wants us, the whole of us; not in half measure but in full measure. He wants our whole self, all that we are, all that we want to be, and all our desires; holy and unholy.
The bottom-line is that, this man, who seemingly had it all, had an opportunity to invest in eternal riches, but had difficulties because something was much more important to him than eternal life. In many ways, we are like him, for although we may not possess great material wealth, many other things like pleasure, appetite, family, friends, sense of independence, selfish desires, competition with others, etc., may stand in the way. Nothing, in this world, is worth missing out on a relationship with Christ. The truth is that, if we surrender to Jesus today, we will never go away grieved or sad. We need to use whatever stuff we have, on this earth, for the glory of God; to become a distributive channel of God’s grace and blessings to humanity. What God has blessed us with should never keep us away from the pursuit of righteousness. May the good Lord grant us the grace for this godliness, Amen