Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
A Homily - Cycle B - 2011-2012
by Fr. Luke Dundon

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First Reading - Wisdom 7:7-11
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
Second Reading - Hebrews 4:12-13
Gospel - Mark 10:17-30

Mark wrote to explain Christ
to the new Gentile converts.

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?  No one is good by God alone.  You know the commandments; You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother."  He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."  Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing.  Go sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."  At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"  The disciples were amazed at his words.  So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."  They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?"  Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.  All things are possible for God."  Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you."  Jesus said "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father of 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.

Being an astrophysics major, my education in economics and finance came through the ever-advanced game of monopoly.  Pass Go, get $200.  Take a chance card, get $50 in your favor.  Land on Free Parking . . . and youíve struck the mother load!  Of course, you also learn the importance of paying up, especially if your sister owned Boardwalk or Park Place.  However, I learned a valuable lesson playing monopoly, a financial piece of wisdom that has been passed down through the ages Ė if you pay now, youíll gain later!  If you sacrifice a bit now, greater rewards will await you!  In monopoly, one BUYS property, so that you can EARN rent when others land on it.  You need to PAY money in order to EARN more money.  Once you give, you can receive - - - hopefully much more in return!  It took me many years to learn this, but the payoff was quite exciting!

If only the young man in todayís Gospel could learn about the payoff that Jesus is offering Him.  This young man is trying to understand what it means to be a disciple, how to follow the good teacher, how to gain the reward of eternal life.  He obeys the commandments, he follows the rules.  So what else does he need to do?  This man knows, like us, that just following the rules CANíT be all there is.  The commandments are very important, but like the young man, we also ask, WHAT MORE do we need to inherit eternal life, WHAT MORE do we need to reach our fullest potential and greatest joy, WHAT MORE do we need to become TRUE friends of Jesus?  A great question, for Jesusí response is unforgettable . . . what does He do?  He LOVES HIM . . . and THEN speaks.  One of the most obvious and explicit examples in Scripture where God intentionally LOVES one of His own.  What does it mean to Love?  To show selfless concern, to want what is best for another.  Jesus shows that He is genuinely concerned for this young man, and so eagerly shows Him that He is lacking just one thing.  Yes, obey, Yes, follow the rules and roll the dice and pay rent and move around the board.  But, if you REALLY want to live, then GIVE from the HEART, and THEN you will find even greater treasure, only THEN will you get eternal payoff!!!  Only then can you come and FOLLOW ME.  Only THEN can you gain the eternal reward!

How timely it is to have this reading - - - next week, our pastor will be initiating and explaining to us a Parish Offertory Program, whereby we will make a spiritual and/or financial pledge for our Sunday collections during this Year of Faith.  We are indeed called to recognize the amazing INVITATION our Lord is making during this Year of Faith - - - Come, Follow Me, come and be my beloved disciples, COME AND SEE that I am more alive than you ever knew . . . but, you must really GIVE, from your heart!  Even a small sacrifice can produce invaluable gains, because the Lord is Divine Banker here.  As manager of our basketball hoop found, Iíve already seen so many selfless sacrifices and prayers from you all, I KNOW that the Lord will do great things with it!  And itís only just begun . . . We just have to ask, ďLord, what am I called to give?

By giving to our parish, we empower St. Philipís to proclaim the Faith in Jesus with ever-greater intensity - - - Fall Festival is proof of that!  I thank each of YOU in advance for responding to the Lordís invitation as you give to your parish family. 

As a new priest, Iíve learned from each of YOU how much Christ gives back to us when we give to Him.  For heís bestowed gifts of joy, generosity, perseverance under trial, forgiveness and compassion in the face of injustice, and welcome to those who are lost . . . Iíve SEEN these gifts in the people before me, in you, and thatís only possible with those who have already given to the Lord, who have already said, ďyes, Iím willing to give, in order to gain so much more, Iím willing to offer to YOU, so that I can follow YOU, Lord.Ē  Thanks be to God for YOUR own faith, brothers and sisters of our parish - - - for it reveals nothing less than the amazing reward of knowing that Jesus IS alive and with us, TODAY.  Amen.

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