Abbot's Homily, 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time
"I preferred her to sceptre and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her” (Wisdom 7:7)
Wisdom is surely the theme that we are invited to reflect on today. Wisdom! Be attentive! Christ is the wisdom and power of God!
But are we wise? How do we live? The first reading, from the Book of Wisdom, tells of the prayer of someone seeking wisdom. This reading would indicate that if we have wisdom, everything else will be ours. That is a deceptive kind of thinking, of course, because with wisdom, our values change and the “everything” that we want will no longer be the same.
We see this change of values in almost all of the lives of the saints. There is gradual or a fast shift from looking for the goods and the values of this world to seeking only what God wants of us. What God wants of us could be poverty, could be suffering, could be giving up what we now have. And if it is what God wants of us, then it is a richness beyond all compare when we do it. But we may not look wealthy!
What is happiness for the Christian? Doing God’s will and not our own. What is wealth for the Christian? Having just what God wants us to have.
When we look at the Gospel today, we see the same message given to us by Saint Mark. Here is a rich young man who really strives to live his faith in every aspect of his life. But the rich young man did not love Jesus enough to give up all that he had. Here is a young man who is willing to do everything for Jesus but not willing simply to be for Jesus with nothing else.
And us? How willing are we to hand over everything to God? What are we holding back? In our own minds and hearts, at times, we can even hear ourselves say: “Anything that God wants, I will give—except for this one thing!” If we have one thing that we are keeping back, then we cannot give ourselves entirely to God.
Even when we are willing to give everything, it doesn’t mean that we always succeed in giving everything all of the time. We fail! We are humans and just deciding to follow the Lord does not give us our own strength to do so. So much of the spiritual struggle is learning how to let all the power be God’s.
With God’s grace we are able to give up everything for the Lord. With God’s grace we are able to continue the spiritual struggle. With God’s grace we are able to trust totally in a God who has given His love to us and invites us to share His life. Let us continue in the struggle with total trust in God! May God’s Word, as a two-edged sword, free us from all that holds us back.