YEAR A: HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 8TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: The Different Degrees of Perfection.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
HOMILY: “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. (Luke 6:45)
Many people came to Jesus in the course of his earthly life for different reasons, but the young man in today’s Gospel passage came for something bigger. He began by referring to Jesus as the “Good Teacher.” Surprisingly, Jesus responded: “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” Could it be that Jesus was saying He is not good? Definitely not.
The truth is that Jesus not in the habit of blowing his own trumpet and this is why he would often tell people not to broadcast his miraculous healings. The man came praising Jesus but Jesus decided to give the praise to God the Father instead. In this way, Jesus practically displayed humility.
Jesus went on to list the commandments as a response to this man’s quest for inheriting eternal life. It is interesting that Jesus did not list all the Ten Commandments or perhaps Jesus was still speaking when the man interrupted Jesus by saying: “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.” By listing the commandments, Jesus was teaching us that in themselves, these commandments represent a certain degree of perfection.
One would wonder, if this man had been keeping all the commandments of God, why did he still come to Jesus seeking eternal life? The answer is simple. Despite his riches, this man deeply felt something was seriously lacking in him. Having established his security on riches, this man was afraid of dying and leaving his wealth behind. He wanted the secret of living forever. His question was not born out of a desire for holiness but a result of his attachment to wealth.
Jesus saw through his heart decided to invite him to a higher degree of perfection which entails letting go of our material riches and building complete trust in God instead. “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
While the first level represents the lay state, the second level represents the call to priesthood and religious life which involves the renunciation of personal property, total obedience and chastity.
The man who was quick to brag about keeping the commandments of God suddenly could not say anything. His countenance fell and he walked away sorrowful. He just could not imagine life without his riches. Somehow, he had made a god of his wealth. Jesus looked at his disciples and said, “How hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Jesus who had earlier recommended the commandments of God as the key to inheriting the kingdom of God now says God’s kingdom is hard for the rich. Why? As Jesus himself would say, “no one can serve two masters.” There is a way we can pursue money that money itself becomes an obstacle on our way to salvation. For instance, by telling lies because of money, taking what does not belong to us, selling our bodies etc.
In truth, we may not all be called to the religious life or to the renunciation of all personal property. we may not all be called to follow Jesus like this rich man but the fact remains that we must be careful not to allow our love for riches overshadow our love for God. We must realize that it is God who sustains us not our bank accounts. The rich man walked away from Jesus sorrowful; all his money would not be able to buy him happiness. What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul?
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, help me to trust you more than my money. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Sirach 17:24-29, Psalm 32 and Mark 10:17-27).