Fr. Mike’s Homily for Monday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II (1)










Fr. Mike’s Homily for Monday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II

Theme: True and lasting happiness cannot be found in material wealth

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

Homily for Monday February 28 2022

 

Mk 10:17‐27

As he 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.”

The rich young man wanted to inherit eternal life. It must be the reason why he faithfully followed the commandments of God since childhood. But after his conversation with Jesus, he went away sad for he realized it is not possible for him.

There are two reasons. First, he has a misguided notion of salvation. He thinks following the commandments and avoiding sin are enough. He was so sure about this. He did not realize that holiness essentially consists in doing good, not just avoiding evil. A boxer can never win a bout by just avoiding his opponent’s punches. He must also throw punches, and in order to win, he must throw more punches than his opponent. The Lord makes it clear: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21-23). ‘Doing’ is what truly matters, not ‘avoiding’.

And second, the Gospel says that “he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” This is surprising. How can having many possessions make one sad? But the Lord explained it later to His disciples when they got home. He said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” He even went as to say, “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.”

The Lord is just trying to emphasize the danger that riches pose to our soul. Having many possessions may lead one to self-sufficiency. This is very dangerous. Being self-sufficient makes him think that he can exist in this world without anybody’s help. Thus, he becomes extremely selfish. He thinks only of himself. That is why the admonition of Jesus to the rich young man that he sell all his possessions and give to the poor is totally alien to him, for, in fact, he does not care about the poor and any other people.

Moreover, self-sufficiency makes one extremely materialistic. His trust is on his wealth and possessions, not on God. That is why the rich young man cannot let go of his possessions. For him, his wealth is more important than God. He does not need God anymore. In fact, with his money, he may even think that he can already act and behave like God.

This kind of attitude and thinking is, according to Pope St. John Paul II, the cause of so much problems in the world. He said, “The greatest misfortune of this age is that people consider money as the highest good.” Almost all crimes committed everyday are motivated by greed, selfishness and the insatiable desire for money and wealth. And the worse part of this is that many of these money-thirsty people are already very rich!

It is not bad to be rich. What is bad is when man worships and loves money, not God; when he serves material wealth, not God and the poor; when he only thinks of how to grow richer in the world than in the eyes of God. The rich young man should always serve as a warning to us. He went away sad because he realized he cannot attain true happiness and salvation. The Gospel illustrates this graphically: “his face fell.” This means the mask that he put on through the years – that of being religious and obedient to God’s laws – fell off, and his true self is revealed: materialistic, selfish and greedy.

The Gospel today is a very important reminder to us that true and lasting happiness cannot be found in material wealth, but only in God. Hence, “seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Mt 6:33).

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches




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