Reflection on the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In this reflection, the Cycle B Scripture readings for the 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time are used: Wisdom 7:7-11; Psalm 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17; Hebrews 4:12-13, and Mark 10:17-30.
The encounter between Jesus and the rich man manifests that the man is one who has embraced the observance of God’s Commandments in his life. His ready disposition to cooperate with God’s grace now moves him to seek the “MORE,” and so he seizes the opportunity to come to Jesus: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus challenged him to pave the way for the MORE that he feels called to by first focusing him on his possessions. He should go, sell, give to the poor, be free of his riches, and then, with his treasure in Heaven, come back and follow Him. This shook the rich man to his roots as his very identity wrapped up with riches. It had never crossed his mind that his possessions were standing in the wayof the MORE that he must do. He was confused. Did he really hear Jesus correctly? Should he become dispossessed? The “rug” had been thoroughly pulled away from under his feet. Such is often the trademark of God’s ways with us: “SURPRISE!”
The rich man’s possessions, in themselves, were not the problem. They were not the cause that would distance him from Jesus. The distancing was coming from his own heart. His inordinate attachment to his possessions was raging in him, holding him in bondage and leaving him paralyzed, unable to move forward to follow the One whose friendship held the key to freedom. Consequently, he walks away sad.
What about us? Are we free to place Jesus up front and at the center of our everyday lives? Are we able to appreciate that our true identity is found only in communion with Him? To let our hearts rest in what is passing away is to wrap our lives around an ultimate illusion, for we were designed for nothing less than God Himself! The Kingdom of God is at hand, so we need to repent of the hold that the world, the flesh, the devil, and our very self-centeredness have on us. This diminishes our appreciation of who we are called to be, namely, in Christ. Jesus promises, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”
So, what must we do? If we are to escape from our own inordinate attachments, each of us absolutely needs quality time for daily prayer. In prayer, we pour our minds and hearts over the Word of God daily and consistently as much as we can so as to come to know the Depth, the Life, and the Joy that is Jesus!
If it is necessary to make time for prayer in our daily schedule, we may rise 15 minutes earlier. There is no better way to start the day (and store up our TREASURE in Heaven) than by prayer to heed the Lord’s bidding: “Abide in Me as I in you. Abide in My love.”
Father Hansen is a member of the Society of Our Mother of Peace, with communities in High Ridge and Marionville, MO.