His disciples “said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’”

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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 splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.

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.

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; 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 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."

This week’s gospel reading is a tribute to the apostles; those in religious life or the lay apostolate who has given up their worldly careers and possessions to follow Jesus. “[They] will have treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21).

Then Jesus goes on to make a most striking statement for “those who have wealth” even though they are living a life according to the commandments (Mark 10:23). He said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:21). Those of us who live in the comfort of an affluent society have the opportunity to earn a good and steady income and have accumulated possessions like a house, a car or two, savings and investments, to name a few, have we become “someone who is rich” and therefore will be difficult for us to enter the kingdom of God?

It takes wisdom to contemplate how this question relates to us, something we have to pray for. The first reading from the Book of Wisdom is a prayer to ask God for understanding and wisdom for “All good things came to [us] along with [wisdom]” (Wisdom 7:11). We need wisdom to see beyond our earthly journey which is short and temporary, that all things in this world, be it power and wealth, beauty and health, will pass. We need wisdom to discern the will of God and what must we do with His guidance in our specific circumstances and in the time He has given us in this world to serve Him best. We should regard our legitimate possessions not exclusive to ourselves but also to be shared with and used for the benefit of others. The ownership of property makes us a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others (ref CCC 2404).

During Mass this Sunday, let us humbly pray for wisdom that would enable us to discern the path to eternal life, and to follow it in faith and hope; to grow in charity; be attentive to the needs of our neighbors and to share God’s providence with them as freely as we have received.

Posted: October 14, 2018

Shiu Lan

Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.

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