“Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time build unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because He impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church.”
–POPE FRANCIS, PENTECOST SUNDAY HOMILY EXCERPT, MAY 19, 2013
Monday, May 27 ~ Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop
Holy Gospel: Mark 10:17-27
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 men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are
possible for God.”
When Jesus challenged the man to make God his one true possession and treasure, he became dismayed. Why did he go away with sadness rather than with joy? His treasure and his hope for happiness were misplaced. He sought happiness and security in what he possessed rather than in who he could love and serve and give himself in undivided devotion. Why should Jesus call his disciples to “sell all” for the treasure of his kingdom? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. The Lord himself is the greatest treasure we can have. Focusing on the treasures to be gained from God and not on the things of this earth is our greatest joy. Selling all that we have could mean many different things–
letting go of attachments, friendships, influences, jobs, entertainments, styles of life–really anything that might stand in the way of our loving and following God first and foremost in our lives.
O God, who by the preaching of the Bishop Saint Augustine of Canterbury led the English peoples to the Gospel, grant, we pray, that the fruits of his labors may remain ever abundant in your Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
What earthly treasures do I possess that captures my heart, my time, my resources? Do these prevent me from loving God as fully as I can? If so, what treasures must I “sell” – give up – in order that I may devote my attention and my love to God, who makes all things possible?