28TH SUNDAY HOMILY FOR ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
THEME: THE WILL OF GOD FOR US
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY OCTOBER 10 2021
Is it possible to live without any reference to material possession and wealth? Is it actually wise to live as though material possessions constitute the ultimate end of all our aspirations? Certainly, man and woman must not leave on bread alone (Mt 4:4); but they need bread to survive and to be nourished in order to pursue higher goods. Bread becomes most meaningful only within the context of assisting men and women to achieve their ultimate goal in life. Lord, may the transitory comfort of material possessions never make us lose sight of the ultimate goal of our existence; Amen.
The encounter between Jesus and the man in the Gospel Reading (Mark 10:17-30) is very instructional to us all on our journey of life, especially about what truly matters and for what purpose are all the worldly possessions we can lay claim to. The question this man asked Jesus is a confirmation that no amount of worldly possession or fame can quench the innate tendency in all of us to search for the ultimate goal in life; “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” We can claim to be deaf to this inner push, but we can never quench its recurrent resurgence, manifest at such moments when everything within our worldly possessions and accumulations seem to be chaff and worthless. This was the case with the man in today’s Gospel. By means of his wealth, it could be assumed that he had everything that would make life externally beautiful and splendid. But he was very poor in that which makes life internally glorious and ultimately triumphant. The later can only be achieved when our worldly possessions encounter the person of Christ; “go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” We cannot encounter God and remain the same. Every encounter with Christ transforms everything about us into a missionary. With such encounter, not just only ourselves, but also our worldly possessions begin the mission of being a source of succour and relive to those in need and an instrument, in our hands, to gain that which truly matters. Every encounter with Christ leads to a very serious moment of decision; to decide to live only within the limitations of worldly interests or to adopt a transcendental approach to the things of this world. Only within the context of transcendental consciousness does the meaning of life gradually unveil itself to us. It takes the wisdom from above to discern this truth and to make the right decision.
This notwithstanding, it would be very hypocritical to claim that material goods are not useful for human sustenance. In fact, material goods are essential commodities. However, it is a fundamental evil to possess material goods without the wisdom from above. Material goods are raw materials for the reception of the most precious gifts from God, especially when they are used to effect positive change in the lives of those around us. Material gifts are destructive without the wisdom to put them to proper use. Wisdom, in this context, is that divinely inspired and motivated disposition that allows us to use whatever material good in our possession for the attainment of higher and more sublime goods. This is the type of Wisdom lacking in the man of the Gospel Reading of today. He hadn’t the disposition and the wisdom to use what he had to gain that which he can never achieve by his own accord or by his ordinary human effort. The Second Reading (Wisdom 7:7-11) speaks most eloquently of this type of wisdom; “in her company all good things came to me, at her hands, riches not to be numbered.” The only innumerable riches that exist are those of the celestial realms. They are innumerable because they are by nature infinite and they pertain strictly to eternity. However, a foretaste of them in this world is possible, especially through a God-inspired and wise deployment of material goods under the guide of the Word of God. The Word of God reveals to us the will of God for us; it directs our path, softens our heart, nourishes our spirit and indicates to us the best ways to nourish our bodies through fruitful use of the natural gifts we have received from God. The Word of God is a complete package for integral wellbeing and the Fountain of Wisdom. The Word of God is as powerful as this, because the Word of God is divine. In the language of the Second Reading (Hebrews 4:12-13), “the word of God is something alive and active… No created thing can hide from him.” The Word of God remains the surest and safest place to sincerely search for that wisdom that empowers us to recognise the limitations of material goods and to make the best and most fruitful use of material goods. It was the Word of God that spoke to the man in the Gospel Reading. The same Word of God continues to speak to us today; “for men it is impossible, but not for God: everything is possible for God.”
Lord, may we never be carried away by the lure of the material goods around us. May we recognise the blessings You have given us in these goods. Inspired by Your Word, may we grow wise as to use them to gain that which only You can give; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE