YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: WHEN WE TREASURE POSSESSIONS MORE THAN PERSONS.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi.
GOSPEL: MK 10:17-30
” _Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me_ .” Mk 10:21
” _The irony of the modern life is that things have taken over the place of persons”_
My dearest Children of God peace be with you who have gathered as disciples at the feet of their master to listen to the eternal words of transformation and salvation. The readings of today remind us that we do not possess anything in our life that we refuse to surrender to the Lord. In reality, these things often possess us, and we become the prisoners of our possessions. We are warned of the dangers of materialism.
God created man and woman and endowed him/her with everything he/she needs for a meaningful life. God empowered man/woman giving him/her dominion over everything He created. When man/ woman disobeyed God, life became difficult and suffering came upon him/her. The only way to survive was through struggles and labours of his/her own hands but God’s love never departed from him/her as God continually provides for him/her *so man/woman cannot without offending God arrogate or claim that everything he/she has is a product of his/her labours unaided by divine help.*
From the stone age to the jet age, (from the ancient to the contemporary time) men and women have transformed the face of the earth through their achievements and inventions. Life in modern times seems more easy and luxurious. The invention of smart technology has made life even more luxurious than ever.
In the face of all these modern innovations, men and women seem to be much more withdrawn from God. secularists will say, man has conquered the world, God has no place in it anymore. The increasing sophistication of modern life with its attendant luxuriousness has doubled the spirit of possessiveness in the hearts of men/women. People are struggling today working round the clock no longer to satisfy the necessary human needs but to maintain a high standard of living they opted for themselves. Nothing seems to satisfy anymore, the quest for money and material things seem to be endless. Men and women are in an endless pursuit for wealth. No one has time for others because we have activities, debts, bills and what have you to meet up with. Things have taken up the place of persons in the heart of men and women. We shall be doomed in this endless pursuit if we lose focus of eternal destination of earthly possessions Nothing actually belongs to us. Nothing ever lasts.
The first reading from the book of wisdom, advises us to use the God-given virtue of prudence and to seek true wisdom in preference to vanishing realities like riches or political and social influence. Solomon chose Wisdom before everything else. But when he accepted Wisdom, he received everything else along with her. Since Jesus is Wisdom Incarnate *when we put following Jesus ahead of everything else we receive everything else along with Jesus.*
The second reading warns us that we are accountable before God as to how we use our blessings and that the “living and effective word of God” must be our guide in evaluating the use of our blessings.
In the gospel, Jesus teaches us what it takes to be a righteous person. *Holiness does not consist in keeping all the commandments or avoiding sin but in doing something good for others*. Many would say that Jesus made an unfair or impossible demand from the wealthy young man. But my question is, what is the difference between what God asked Abraham to do with his only son and what God asked the rich man to do with his wealth? In Abraham, we saw a man who is detached from his possessions. In the rich man, we saw a man who is attached to his possessions. Abraham proved to God he is ready to give up the only thing he has, but the rich man frowned and went away because he is not willing to let go of his riches. Abraham was willing to let go a “person”, the rich man was unwilling to let go “a thing”. Many value things more than persons. They can pay deaf ears to the cries of the poor or the beggar on the street just to save money to maintain their car. Isn’t this sinful?
*The problem is not in having but in letting go.* Detachment from material possessions is a necessary condition for being a true follower of Christ.
In a society were wealth defines social status, people would do anything possible to remain at the height they have attained.
Part of the fears of this rich man may be the fear of becoming a poor and low-class person if he attempts giving away everything he has to the poor, but he never knew what providence has in store for him. Not only that we are possessed by possessions today but we have decided to remain possessed to our own detriment. *There is so much hunger and poverty in the world today because men and women have accumulated for the future what many would survive on today*.
Being rich is no evil. Wealth is good. God does not condemn riches but condemns our attitude to it. In a world where wealth is worshipped, men have lost their souls to the devil. It is a sin against the first commandment when we give to wealth the place of God in our lives. When we abandoned the God of creation and worship created things. ” *Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”* .1 Timothy 6:17-19. I hope we have not forgotten the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21.
Jesus was so generous that he gave us his very self. Hence, there should be a desire to give in the heart of every Christian. God does not ask us to give up our riches, but he does ask us to use them wisely in His service. We must manage our possessions wisely so that they do not gain control over our hearts. God gives us time, talents and riches that we may use them in the service of others.
We all have something in our lives that serve as a major obstacle to happiness and peace. It may be anger, holding grudges, alcohol, drugs, lust, apathy, lies, unfaithfulness, theft, or fraud. Let us invite God into our lives and into our efforts to face and remove that one obstacle to holiness.
May God help us to value our sharing with others our possessions and use earthly goods wisely to acquire heavenly possessions. Don’t let anything be a difference to your serving God, learn to value people more than possessions.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi.