Pastoral Message

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The Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time 


The Man Who Went Away Sad…

In today’s readings we have the story of the rich man asked to follow Jesus, who went away sadly because he could not put Jesus above all he owned. Perhaps, if that young man had done so, he would have a parish church named after him if Jesus was calling him to lead the Church.  Instead, that honor fell to Peter, who was not perfect, but who saw with the eyes of faith.

In our place and time, wealth is not in and of itself wrong. Rather what is wrong is the attachment we have for our wealth that relegates our trust in God to an inferior position. “Wealth” in this gospel refers to earthly metrics of success, perhaps titles, awards, possessions, etc.. “Wealth” in God’s eyes is measured by the integrity of our love, our willingness to forgive, our compassion for any of our brothers and sisters in need for whatever purpose. WE are to promote the dignity of every human person, not some faceless entity we call “the Church”, for we are the Church!  We are to value the time spent together, the times we have been invited into both moments of joy and of suffering and more. We are to have an “attitude of gratitude” that is evident in our faith belief and in our treatment and consideration of others.

We may be saddened by people or events that irritate us – perhaps we have been belittled, disrespected, or not included in an activity or in a relationship. This does sadden us and there is nothing wrong with it, but I offer a possible alternative. Everything that hurts us in this life and is borne with a degree of trust that God will appreciate us for carrying our crosses, just as He carried His Cross edifies us. The number of times we have trusted in his providence in difficult moments adds to our real wealth. The number of times that we have put our earthly rewards and God-given abilities at the service of others adds to our real wealth. There is nothing wrong with earthly wealth by itself. However, everything depends on our attitude towards our gifts and how we use them.  Just think if the rich young man had enthusiastically responded “Everything I have is from You; thus, everything I have is at your disposal!” The Jesuits had a way of saying it “Ad Majorem Gloria Deo” which translated means “For the greater glory of God!”                                                           

                                         Fr. Mike