HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME-CYCLE”B”- 10/11/15 SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We all know that asking for directions, and getting directions, have changed a great deal in the last twenty years. GPS, and Garmins, and TomToms, and Google Maps, and satellites, all of these work together to make sure that we are never lost again. You can get directions for walking, or driving, or pretty much any means of transportation, instantly at your fingertips. You would think that today, we would never get lost. And yet, we know, we still do.
Several years ago I was visiting Paris, France, and I got lost. I wandered around for about an hour with my map, and still had no idea where I was. I asked a French man who worked in this little newspaper shack, for directions, and he sent me over a mile out of way, in the opposite direction. You gotta love the French. But man, do some of those people hate us! And of course, this reminds us that when we’re lost, and we need directions, you gotta ask directions from the right people. You want people giving you directions, giving you advice, that’s going to get closer to where you most want to be, and not farther away!
I mention all of this talk to you this morning, about directions, because today we hear this story of the rich young man who comes to Jesus, really, asking for directions. The rich young man, like all of us, I suppose, wants to know exactly what he has to do to get to Heaven. He wants directions to Heaven! And today, he asks the Son of God, what he must do. Jesus tells him to follow the Commandments. And the rich young man, says that he has! And Jesus doesn’t argue with him. Jesus doesn’t point out any sins, like he did with the woman at the well. Jesus doesn’t remind him of some long-forgotten from many years ago. Instead, Jesus seems to agree with him. Apparently, the rich young man is that close to going to Heaven.
But its then, that Jesus invites him to get rid of his possessions, give the money to the poor, and come and follow Him. And here’s where the directions, the advice, the instructions, come to a screeching halt. The rich young man is a rich young man. He likes his possessions. He wants to follow Jesus. He wants to go to Heaven. But he feels like God is asking him to do something that he can’t do. And so the Gospel says that the rich young man goes away sad.
What are the things in each of our lives, that we think God is asking us to change or give up, that we too feel like it’s impossible? For the rich young man, it is his possessions. What’s somewhat ironic is that in a few years, when the rich young man is a rich old man, he will die and give up all his possessions any way. But what are our obstacles to Heaven? What are those things that we feel it is impossible for God to help us to overcome? It is our jobs? It is our pride? Is it our selfishness? It is our habitual sins? Let me promise you, the rich young man isn’t alone in his holding back from following Jesus’ directions! We all do it. We want to follow Him on our terms, and not His. That’s like asking directions of someone, and then saying, well, I’ll only follow part of the directions, and then wondering why they didn’t get us to where we wanted to go! God wants to get each and everyone of us home to Heaven! We’re the ones, who are afraid to follow the directions.
Maybe that’s why today God reminds us that nothing is impossible with God. We think that certain things are impossible. That’s us. Not God. With God, each one of us can do anything! Most especially, we certainly can do those things that God Himself wants us to do, to make it home to Heaven. Let us NOT doubt Him then! Would God really give us the incredible opportunity of Heaven, and then not help us to get there? That would be cruel. And ours is not a cruel God.
This week, we pray to trust Him. We pray to have the courage overcome any and all obstacles that are keeping us from God and from God’s love. We have the directions. We know the way to go. We don’t need a smart phone, or a computer, or even an Apple watch. What we need, is to trust Him!
+ May God bless us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!