Go back to the gospels

XXVIII Sunday of Ordinary Time

10/9/2021
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Dear brothers and sisters, Fiat!

This Sunday's Gospel is very beautiful, but hard on those who reject it. It is a text that concerns our daily life in which we seek the face and gaze of Jesus who goes before us, loves us and speaks to us.

The example of the rich man shows that a true relationship with God is not possible without a decisive step in following Jesus. Jesus formulates an invitation to everyone to stay with Him. This is certainly the greatest wealth for every man. Jesus clearly implies that it is impossible to be saved without an effective detachment from the things of the world, without reserving for God first place!

But this Gospel page also speaks to us of the Master's sadness at seeing Himself rejected and the drama of the man who turns his back on Him. Each of us knows what personal obstacle prevents us from following Jesus. Today's Gospel page wants to provoke in us the same question posed by the Master: what is it that concretely prevents me from following Him? What am I so attached to that I prefer it to Christ himself?

God forbid that the same thing should happen to us as happened to the anonymous young man in the Gospel. For he "became dark in countenance and went away saddened!". He came running and went away saddened. The man who had asked a binding question about eternal life went away mute. The seeker of eternal life was frightened: it would have taken too much courage. He had approached for a moment the One who could transform his life and instead fell back into his sadness, enthralled by the illusion of earthly goods.

The enthusiasm of the initial rush came to a halt. He thought he was really available, but in fact he could not do without his riches and all that they meant to him, and he preferred them to following Christ. He lacked the courage of radicality and the confidence in Christ, who, by fixing him, had loved him. Following, in fact, is something more than the simple fulfillment of the law.

Jesus Master clearly manifests his vocation to everyone. But to give an enthusiastic and willing response, it is necessary to put Christ first. Everything must be subjected to the primacy of God and regulated by Him. Pope Saint Paul VI wrote: "There is always the gift of freedom between God's call and us. There can be no true love that is not founded on freedom in giving or accepting choices. By freedom we mean personal and voluntary oblation to the cause of Christ" (April 1968).

We should dutifully ask ourselves: what prevents me from following Jesus Christ faithfully and consistently? It is not enough to have a long and generous Christian practice, but it is necessary to have the courage to believe as true, as it is written, the Word of Jesus and not interpret it or sweeten it to our own convenience.

The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us: " The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts more incisively than any two-edged sword: it can seek out the place where soul is divided from spirit, or joints from marrow; it can pass judgement on secret emotions and thoughts".

It will be for this reason that today's Gospel is juxtaposed with the reading from the book of Wisdom. "I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones; compared with her…I loved her more than health or beauty, preferred her to the light, since her radiance never sleeps." The sadness of the rich young man in the Gospel is the sadness that arises in the heart of each of us when we do not have the courage to follow Christ. To understand the word of Jesus requires wisdom of heart. Only then can we follow Christ out of love alone.

 

In the first passage of her diary (February 28, 1899) Luisa, talks about the characteristics of faith. She wrote that Faith vivifies, Faith sanctifies, Faith spiritualizes man, and makes him keep his eye fixed on a Supreme Being, in such a way that he learns nothing of the things of down here; and if he learns them, he learns them in God. Oh! the happiness of a soul who lives of Faith - her flight is always toward Heaven. In everything that happens to her, she always looks at herself in God; and so, just as in tribulation, Faith raises her in God and she does not afflict herself, nor does she lament, knowing that she is not to form her contentment here, but in Heaven; in the same way, if joy, riches, pleasures, surround her, Faith raises her in God, and she says to herself: “Oh! how much more content and rich will I be in Heaven!” So, these earthly things are a bother to her, she despises them, and tramples them underfoot. It happens to a soul who lives of Faith as to a person who possessed millions upon millions of coins, and even entire kingdoms, and someone else wanted to offer him a penny. What would he say? Would he not disdain it? Would he not throw it in his face? I add: and what if that penny were all muddy, just as earthly things are? Even more: what if that penny were only lent to him? Now, this person would say: “I enjoy and possess immense riches, and you dared to offer me this miserable penny, so muddy, and only for a short time?” I believe he would immediately remove his gaze from it, and would not accept the gift. So does the soul who lives of Faith with regard to earthy things.

 

don Marco
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