Reflections

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, OCTOBER 10, 2021

SELL ALL—GIVE TO THE POOR—COME FOLLOW ME
Greeting (cf. Second Reading)
The Word of God is alive and active;
it can judge our secret emotions and thoughts.
It is the Lord Jesus who speaks this word to us.
May he always be with you. R/ And with your spirit.
 
Introduction
Today the word of God challenges us: in what do you put your heart? Where is your security? What makes your life valuable and worthwhile? What do you boast of? Here comes the advice of God’s word and wisdom as early as the Old Testament and here comes Jesus’ warning: Do not put your heart in possessions for they will become your masters. Let God be your Lord. Let it be Jesus whom we follow.
In addition, how happy are we when once in a while the Lord invites us to encounter him on a deeper level beyond the banality of life, be it in prayer, in listening to the word he speaks to us, in our thanksgiving after communion, in admiring the beauty of his creation. When we really encounter him he changes us, for known or unknown to us he invites us to follow him more radically. But we can refuse the invitation. It saddens him, for he loves us. Let us ask the Lord here in the Eucharist that we may always follow his call and invitation.
 
Penitential Act
Do we dare to trust more in God
than in our own securities and possessions?
Let us examine ourselves before the Lord.
(pause)
 
Lord, your wisdom and your love
are worth much more than fame,
health, beauty and possessions:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
 
Jesus Christ, you know where our heart is
and you want it to be turned to God:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
 
Lord Jesus, you want us to give up
the things that possess and control us
and to follow you instead:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
 
In your kindness forgive us
our treacherous attachments.
Make us put our trust in you
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.
 
Opening Prayer
Let us pray to God for the wisdom
to follow his Son without hesitation.
(pause)
 
Lord our God,
your living word upsets us.
You give the first place in your kingdom
to the last and the least in our judgment:
you call the poor rich and blessed
and ask the rich to become poor.
Give us, we pray you, the wisdom
of living for the things that matter
and following your Son on the road
to you and to our neighbor,
that we may become secure in your hand.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
 
First Reading: Wise with God’s Wisdom
More precious than power, riches, health and beauty is the wisdom that comes from God. It make us live in God’s love.
 
1 Reading: WISDOM 7:7-11
I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendour of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.
 
Responsorial Psalm 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
 
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants! R.
 
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us,
for the years when we saw evil. R.
 
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children;
and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands! R.
 
Second Reading: God’s Word Is Living and Effective
God’s Word is upsetting. It forces us to face ourselves and to make a choice, for or against God. It is decisive for the outcome of our lives.
 
2 Reading: HEBREWS 4:12-13
Brothers and sisters: Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
 
Alleluia: MATTHEW 5:3
Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel: Come, Follow Me without Useless Baggage
Like the rich man, we have not given anything to God if we do not answer his invitation to follow him the way he wants us to.
 
Gospel: MARK 10:17-30
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 but 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; honour 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 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.”
 
Commentary
I knew a man who was too mean to live and so he died, consoling himself with the thought that funerals, though expensive, are not a recurring expense. There would be one final orgy of spending on his account and then eternal peace of mind! He was a true believer in the other god: mammon. There can be no final peace between these; they are the ultimate rivals. Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and Mammon” (Mt 6:24). Cannot serve God and Mammon…? Just watch us! We become very skilled at keeping them in combination. Sometimes we are capable of using God as a cover for our worship of Mammon. More commonly we serve God, as we imagine, but with the mind of Mammon, calculating in every area of life as if everything were money and bargains. But the most common solution of all is to keep them in separate worlds; God in the world of theory and Mammon in the world of practice. This is the new paganism. God and Mammon: some nice combinations…!
 
Intercessions
Let us pray to God for the wisdom to appreciate his gifts with gratitude and to use them for the good of all. Let us say to him:
R/ Lord, make us wise with your wisdom.
 
– For those in the Church who proclaim to us the wisdom of the Word of God, that they themselves may first live it and share their experience with us, let us pray:
R/ Lord, make us wise with your wisdom.
– For the leaders of the Church in particular, that they may give up even the appearance of power and wealth; for leaders everywhere, that they may not sacrifice their principles for power, success and ambition but commit themselves to promote human dignity and the values of the Gospel, let us pray: R/ Lord, make us wise with your wisdom.
– For those engaged in mass media, in radio, television, movies and newspapers, that they may not twist words and images to distort the values of life but honestly seek the truth, let us pray:
R/ Lord, make us wise with your wisdom.
– For parents and educators, that they may challenge the young to live for things that matter; and for the young, that idealism and generosity may keep guiding their lives, let us pray:
R/ Lord, make us wise with your wisdom.
– For those rich in possession and talents, that they may learn to share what they are and have with those who have less, let us pray:
R/ Lord, make us wise with your wisdom.
 
God, we pray you not for riches but for trust, not for power but for courage, not for pleasure but for joy, not for pretense but for integrity. Make us wise with the wisdom of Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
 
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
your wisdom has a name:
your Son Jesus Christ.
In these signs of bread and wine
we celebrate the folly of the cross
whereby he saved us from sin and death.
Make us aware of the poverty
and emptiness of our hearts
and of the passing value of the things
to which we attach ourselves.
Convert our hearts and set them
on riches that never devaluate:
justice, truth and generous love.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
 
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
We praise and thank God for creating and guiding all things by his wisdom and power. May we be stewards of his creation, and use the goods of this earth for the benefit of others and the glory of God.
 
Invitation to the Lord’s Prayer
God is our riches
and we cry out to him
in the words of Jesus himself: R/ Our Father…
 
Deliver Us
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil
and grant your peace to a world
that is tired of wars and injustice.
Give us your Holy Spirit of wisdom,
that we may not seek our happiness
in ambition, power and possessions.
Help us to seek you and your kingdom,
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom…
 
Invitation to Communion
This is Jesus our Lord,
the Lamb of God.
He is God’s gift to us
and the riches of those
who are poor of heart.
Happy and wise are we
if we accept our Lord’s invitation
and eat the bread of life. R/ Lord, I am not worthy…
 
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
we are easily satisfied with ourselves
and our own little worlds.
Wake us up and give us the courage
to set out with your Son
on his adventure of hope and love.
Make us ask ourselves
not what have we done for you
but what have we not done and not yet given.
By the strength of this Eucharist
help us to follow your Son
today more than yesterday
but less than tomorrow.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
 
Blessing
Christ and his Gospel keep challenging us
not to seek contentment and safety
in the things we have, our own little worlds,
not even in self-congratulations
for having obeyed God’s commandments.
If we want to be really happy
with a joy which nobody can rob from us,
we must learn from Jesus
to give ourselves without reserve
to God and the people around us.
They are our riches and security.
May God give you this wisdom and strength:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
 
Go and follow the Lord every day that he gives you.
R/ Thanks be to God.

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