Reflection: Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Wis.7:7-11; Ps.89; 2nd Reading – Heb.4:12-13; Gospel – Mk.10:17-30]

“JESUS LOVED HIM”

No priest or religious who has taken his vocation seriously could ever challenge the truth of such words. Every priest has the experience of leaving his own family, deciding not to have a proper one, sometimes also leaving his own country and at the end of the day finds himself “repaid a hundred times over”. Surely the motivation of leaving everything is not to receive the hundredfold, but to do it for Jesus’ sake or for the sake of the gospel!

We all know that, although there may be certain texts that apply specifically to a certain theme or group of people, the word of God was written to everyone and not only to priests.  Therefore today’s specific word of God has something to say to us, all!

The gospel starts by presenting a man who “runs” to Jesus, “kneels” before Him, addresses Him as “Good master” and at the same time enquires about how to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ answer was as simple as the question: “Follow the commandments – starting from his relationship with others!”. We are told that when this man told Jesus that he kept these commandments from when he was young, Jesus “looked steadily at him and loved him”. Jesus wanted to create a personal relationship with him… Yes, because Jesus loves those who do their best to live the commandments – and to love means to create a relationship! This man was in fact living a “peaceful life” with others, but still, something was preventing him from having a true relationship with Jesus. He was still attached to what he had and therefore could not let Jesus enter into his life. He could not truly “follow Him”. We are in fact told that at Jesus’ words, he went away sad for he was a man of great wealth. Thus it is not enough to live a peaceful life with others to inherit “eternal life”; one must also foster a relationship with Jesus and therefore the Father.

Jesus in fact puts wealth and riches as one of the strongest things that distract our attention in our relationship with Him: and one can understand why! One puts his security in his riches and not in God! And Jesus expresses his regret about how difficult it is to enter the Kingdom of God… if one is not open to Him. In fact Jesus explains himself in terms of a physical impossibility – that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!

Thus one can understand what it means when we hear that those who sacrifice themselves and leave everything for Jesus’ sake and the gospel, will receive a hundredfold of what they have left. The reason is that they have made space for God in their life. Their security is only in God. They were ready to sacrifice everything, not because of what they were going to receive, but for God’s sake… And since we are in this world, those who do so are also to be ready (though they do not wish so) to receive persecutions… because the “world” will not understand their choice.

Lord, give us the strength to be able to put our trust in You alone! We find ourselves torn between the wish to be with you and the wish to live according to the world. Give us the knowledge to choose your presence in us.  Thank You Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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