by Fr Francis Onyango IMC
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Psalm 90:12-17 (R. cf. 14)
THEME: Go sell everything then come follow me
The gospel today presents us with a question many of us ask: ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Everything we do as Christians from the Sacraments we receive, the worship, the works of mercy, the tithes we pay and the reading of the Word of God is all because of one thing: we want to inherit eternal life. The young man in the gospel today is asking the same fundamental question: ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ From his conversation with Jesus, it is evident that it is not just about obeying the commandments, there is more to eternal life than following rules and regulations, or the dos and the donts!
When Jesus asked him to obey the commandments, he said; ‘Teacher, that’s too easy because all this I have observed from my youth.’ But yet there was one more thing lacking: ‘go sell everything and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.’ This hit him hard like a rock and he went away sad! He was so much attached to his wealth that he could not part ways with them; he wanted to follow Jesus but at the same time keep his riches. But for Jesus, it was; ‘either or and not both.’ Riches in itself is not bad, riches that is acquired in a just way is a blessing from the Lord and is in no way evil, what is evil is our attitude towards our riches and this is where the trick is!
The first reading this Sunday could be a reference to the prayer of Solomon. After Solomon ascended to his father’s throne, God made him ask only for one thing; his only wish was that God should grant him the wisdom to rule the vast kingdom entrusted to him. Solomon had realised that wealth without wisdom is disaster. In a similar way, intelligence without wisdom is disaster, faith without wisdom is disaster and so is holiness without wisdom! We need a bit of wisdom in everything so as to live worthy lives all the time.
A pastor’s child was playing with his father’s phone and accidentally he wrote on the church’s whatsapp group: ‘xrbrtscke kmmncrs xchldktrio’. Just within seconds, many Christians wrote back with the ‘Amen, Amen, Amen, I receive, I receive, Amen, Alleluia’ because they believed that the pastor was talking in tongues. This is faith without wisdom it will lead you nowhere because it is nothing but total madness. You can spend the whole day kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament until your knees hurt but if nothing moves you to go and show compassion to a neighbour it’s all in vain. Pope Francis says that if you can’t find God in the poor person at the door of the church, you will never find him inside the church.
Go sell everything…how do we sell everything? Go sell the hatred in your heart, the anger, the unforgiveness, the gossip, the jealousy, go sell all those things that take away your focus from the Lord, and then come follow Him! Do not just follow the Lord as a routine; let your following of the Lord have an impact on others. Fill us with your merciful love, O Lord, and we shall exult! Amen.