Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Catholic Reflections 694 : Twenty-eighth Sunday of the Year-B - Sunday, 14 October 2018

Homily Twenty-eighth Sunday of the Year-B - Sunday, 14 October 2018

Homily Twenty-eighth Sunday of the Year-B - Sunday, 14 October 2018

Wisdom 7:7-11 Solomon seeks wisdom more than any other spiritual gift to help him become a ruler.
Psalm 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17 We pray that the work of our hands may prosper under God’s gracious care. “Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!”
Hebrews 4:12-13 The discerning word of God cannot be deceived nor deflected from its purpose.
Mark 10:17-30 A morally perfect person is challenged by Jesus to greater union with God.
Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty-eighth Sunday of the Year-B - Sunday, 14 October 2018 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/28b-14th-october-2018-faith-hope-and-love-ep-118   (EPISODE: 118)

According to the psalm this weekend, wisdom comes from knowing how relatively short life really is. That is, we gain wisdom when we deeply appreciate the utter preciousness and fragility of this life.  Because life is short and vulnerable, the things that really matter, (the things that are of abiding value), become so important to discern….

The things that last are love, (self-sacrificing, unselfish love);  and our connection to Jesus and his gospel values….  

Attachment to worldly things, to possessions and money, is an enormous obstacle. Of infinitely more value and importance would be spending all our time and energy in searching the depths of God’s wisdom and deepening our appreciation of God’s ways. This is our lasting treasure.

The second reading tells us that the Word of God is not just a series of letters and words on a page….  Rather; it is ALIVE and ACTIVE!
God’s word gets right into our souls and penetrates our lives. God’s word challenges us to weigh-up our values, our attitudes and actions.

If the word is NOT doing that, if it is always just comfortable and easy and never unsettling, then we need to be wary.  A comfortable Word of God may actually be a “neutralized Word of God” or a “watered-down”  word of God. The extent to which us humans can make up excuses and self-justifications for our self-serving ways, cannot be underestimated. It needs to be carefully guarded against. The fullness of God’s word searches out and reveals our self-deceptions.

In John’s Gospel, it goes even further….  
The WORD of God is Jesus. Jesus is the “eternal word of the Father”….    And we know that “the WORD became flesh and lived among us….”

So, as disciples, we must allow the Word of God to become alive in our hearts and minds and to radically transform us.

I think of Mary, the Mother of God….    I have mentioned before that Michelangelo did a painting once of Mary, at the Annunciation, being told that she will conceive and bear a son….  Mary says “Yes” to this….  
In the painting, there is an unusual image: there is an old-fashioned “hearing-horn,” at Mary’s ear, like the ones people used to use to help them hear, (in times long before electronic hearing aids). This image is Michelangelo’s way of symbolizing that Our Lady conceived the word of God by listening to God’s message and accepting it…Taking it into herself.  “Mary conceived the word of God, by hearing and listening!” Mary brought the word of God to flesh literally in her life… We must hear God’s word, spiritually conceive of it and allow God’s word to become incarnate in our lives through our acceptance and action in our lives….

In the Gospel, the rich young man is basically very good….  He has faithfully kept all the laws and commandments of God…..  
(In Jesus’ time there were a group of people who believed it is possible for a person to be entirely perfect in this life by actually keeping every little rule, commandment and instruction). Jesus loved what he saw as he looked into the sincerity in this man’s heart. He saw the desire for his faithful observance of God’s commandments. But Our Lord saw one big obstacle: the man’s attachment to his worldly goods was getting in the way of him trusting entirely on God’s providence and grace. Jesus looked steadily at the man and saw right into his heart and his challenge came straight from his loving heart when he said to the rich man: You need to let go, so as to be fully in synchronization with God’s ways. You must allow yourself to be utterly dependent on God alone…. Then you will be perfect!

This was too hard for the man… and it says he went away very sad. He was unable to be perfect because he was letting other things get in the road of his relationship with God….

Then Jesus says the comment about the “camel and the needle.” Notice how generations have tried to water this passage down because it is just a bit too challenging. However, we remember that God’s word is a finely tuned sword and it will not be blunted! Jesus words were intended to shock and the disciples’ reaction indicates that his words hit their mark!  Some have tried to suggest that the eye of a needle is the name given to some kind of large door that people pass through; but no. Jesus meant what he said: This exaggeration is meant to mean what it says - It is harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a pin, than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom.  The disciples are obviously astounded by this because they reply in shock: “well then, who can be saved?????”  

Jesus answers that ‘nothing is impossible for God.’  And that trust in God’s providence allows people to let go of attachments or anything else that gets in the way of their following God. Trust in God’s care. Trust not simply on our own human will-power, which is limited.

Jesus, by asking the man to let go of possessions was really saying: It is not good enough to have the right personal attitudes. WE need to go to the very core of injustice and detach ourselves from it. Because possessiveness is found at the root of much that is wrong in society; including the desire to accumulate possessions, money and prestige, at the expense of others…

The rich man could have given all sorts of reasons why he needed to keep his attachments….   Security, or “it could be used to help him to do good”… etc….  but in front of JESUS, who is THE WORD, (who cuts more finely between the bone and the marrow), these excuses would surely have seemed weak and ineffective. The rich man turns and walks away from Jesus. Perhaps he will think about this and return later, after having thought better of what he was leaving behind. We certainly hope so.

The fact is, following Jesus’ Way, takes everything we’ve got. The Way of God is not easy. There are significant challenges in following Christ, and if we have anything (any possession or attachment) that is possibly more important to us than Christ and his gospel, then it could very well come between us at some point of crisis when we have to make a choice or a decision. If we are detached from all things, then we will truly be free to let go of these earthly attachments, if it comes down to a choice between them and Christ’s ways. We simply cannot allow our earthly attachments to be used against us in the all-out fight for the establishment of the Kingdom and its values. We cannot be baulked in times of trial if we have released our grip on possessions.  Jesus gives us strength and the grace for the hard task of being ‘unbound’ from anything that keeps us from the fullness of God’s life-giving WORD. He encourages us by saying, anyone who gives up these things will gain everything that truly lasts and will win EVERYTHING that really matters.


Fr Paul W. Kelly


Liebert, R. (1983). Michelangelo, a psychoanalytic study of his life and images. New Haven: Yale University Press.


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Texts used in this programme are for the purposes of worship and prayer for listeners wherever you are.
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Scriptures are from the New Revised Standard Version: © 1989, by the national council of Churches of Christ, USA. , //adaptations to conform with Catholic liturgical norms, © 2009, by the same.

Psalm verses are taken from “The Psalms: the Grail Translation. Inclusive Language Version.” ©1963, 1995, 2004 The Grail (England), published by HarperCollins. London.

Prayers of the Faithful are adapted from Robert Borg’s 1993 book “Together we pray”. Published in Sydney Australia By  E.J. Dwyer. (out of print).

{ “Mass In Honour of St. Ralph Sherwin” -published 2011,  Composed and Sung by Jeffrey M. Ostrowski 
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May God bless and keep you.

Twenty-eighth Sunday of the Year-B
Sunday, 14 October 2018)   (EPISODE: 118 )

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (or/ The Lord be with You)
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you came to gather the nations into the peace of God's kingdom: Lord, have mercy// You come in word and in sacrament to strengthen us and make us holy: Christ, have mercy//You will come again in glory with salvation for your people: Lord, have mercy.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

Memorial Acclamation

Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.


Sundays Ordinary III

Various Needs and Occasions. III

Communion side.  pwk: 
Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

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