Twenty-Eigth Sunday Sunday in Ordinary Time

I am prettty sure sure that you agree with me: It is amazing that technology changes, but people’s basic attitudes, their misplaced priorities, all remain the same. Many people are more interested in having power than in serving. Look at the world leaders. Many people are more inclined to violence than to reason. Today the readings lead me to recognize how many of us, present company included, present priest included, are more inclined to sacrifice our needs for our wants[1].

We adults too easily we sacrifice our one great Need to fulfill our wants. We know that our happiness is dependent on the keeping Christ in the center of our lives, but we make excuses and step away from the Lord and into oblivion. Is this overstated? Not really. There’s a party at so and so’s on Friday. We know we shouldn’t go. The last time we were with that crowd we got sucked into doing things a Christian should not do. But we’ve had a difficult week. We want a break. What we really want is an excuse to be at that party. We tell ourselves that it will be different this time. We’ll stay in control. We won’t get roped in. So we go, choosing to be in what is an occasion of sin for us. And then our humanity wins the battle, and we lose. The wants of a night replace the Need of a lifetime.

Fill in the blanks: The want that controls me is_________. Is it an illegal substance, a questionable relationship, an atmosphere of sin? Is it the desire for more and more material possessions? What is it that leads us away from our Center? What is it that results in our sins? Is it our pride or our selfishness? Whatever it is, no one is responsible for our fall except each one of us. We chose our wants over our Need.

And then, like the man in today’s gospel, we become miserable.

God was very pleased with young King Solomon, as we heard in the first reading. It was now time for Solomon to reign, and Solomon decided to make this the focus of his reign. Then God appeared to Solomon in a dream. I am delighted with you, God said, and then He asked, What is it that you would like, Solomon? And Solomon replied, Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil.

How amazing answer!

To this God said, Because you have asked for wisdom, and not for a long life or riches or the lives of your enemies, I will give you a wise and discerning mind like no one has ever had before, as well as that which you did not ask for, riches and honor all your life[2].

Solomon sought wisdom, but he already was wise. Solomon asked for what he needed, not for what he wanted.

What we need is the continual growth of Christ’s Presence within us, I mean we need Jesus, we need Love, and we need God. Let us be honest: in the silliness of our humanity, we sacrifice our one great need for our petty wants.

The young man in the gospel saw Jesus and recognized God. That should have been enough for him. Then Jesus looked into the man’s soul. He saw the man’s desire for God. The Gospel says Jesus loved Him. He called the man to become an intimate disciple: Come and follow me.

If the man had followed Jesus, he would undoubtedly be one of the apostles, but the man walked away. Sad. Miserable. Why? Well, because he would not give up his possessions to follow the Lord.

I am certain that for the rest of his life and perhaps for all eternity the man regretted his decision. He let his wants get in the way of his needs, or rather, his one great Need: to live in the company of Jesus.

So, my brother, my sister, wisdom is dependent on our treasuring our Center, Jesus Christ, so let us pray today at the celebration of the mass for the courage to be Christian and to get the wisdom we need to placed to the Lord as a center of our lives ■

[1] Sunday 11th October, 2009, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Wisdom 7:7-11. Fill us with your wisdom, O Lord, and we will sing for joy! Ps 89(90):12-17. Hebrews 4:12-13. Mark 10:17-30.
[2] 1 Kings 3:11.
Ilustration: King Salomon was annointed by Priest Sadok as a priest.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris