Monday, May 25, 2015

If a man's religion does not affect his use of money, that man's religion is vain.

"We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community...Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own."
-- Cesar Chavez: (1927 – 1993: was an American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist)

Gospel Text: (MK 10:17-27)
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

Our western civilization, even in these difficult economic times, is one of the wealthiest in history.  So when we hear Mark’s Gospel today, it might cause us to panic.  But it is not wealth itself that poses the biggest threat to our salvation, but rather the attachments we form to the things that wealth buys.  We lament often about our society’s fascination with our “toys” – Depending on our interest, we may long for a big screen TV, the latest I-Pad or I-phone or a new car, top of the line golf clubs, or a big house or any of the myriad of other items we see on TV or in the ads.  And we should be clear.  These things are not evil in themselves, but certainly our attachment to them – both in the longing and in the possession can turn these things to evil for us.  If the possessions cause us to make bad choices – such as not sharing what we have with those who are in need, or spending an inordinate time with our toys and hobbies – or if our possessions become an obstacle in our relationship with God, then these things do become evil and impede our entrance into eternal life.

Today’s gospel moves us to ask ourselves:  what gets in the way of my receiving the “look of love” from Jesus, from responding to that love in following him?  For some it may in fact be an attachment to material possessions; we need not be rich to have “many possessions.”  For others, those “possessions” may not be material objects.  We may cling to fear, to an abiding sense of guilt or shame, to the attitude that only “certain people” can receive the love of Jesus. 

Let the Lord find in ourselves not only a sincere heart, but also a generous heart open to the demands of love. Because —as John Paul II said— «the love which comes from God, a tender and spousal love, gives rise to profound and radical demands»

No comments:

Post a Comment