Vol: 42, No.54 28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME ( B) October 11 2015  

The sense of the divine in human consciousness is inbuilt. We see this very clearly in the lives of the Jewish people whose lives and relationship with God are abundantly documented in the Old Testament. Not only the Jewish people but humanity as a whole, both ancient and modern, believe that ultimately God is the priceless possession that they can ever have. Of course priceless things are also found in our physical world. In the architectural field we have marvels like the Taj Mahal, the great Basilicas in Rome, the Egyptian pyramids, and the Great Wall of China, to mention a few. Similarly in literature, art, music and cinema we find priceless pieces of work. In the process of creating great works, their creators also become wealthy and prosperous. Here lies the problem. One uses the God-given gifts and talents to create precious things and as a collateral effect becomes wealthy. Now where do people put their minds and hearts: in God who have given them the opportunity and necessary talents or in the wealth they have created?
The author of the Book of Wisdom says that he would prefer wisdom to sceptres and thrones. He would consider wisdom as more precious than gold and silver both of which are costly and precious metals. The young man in the Gospel of today is facing the existential problem: to be on the side of God or his possessions. He comes running to Jesus as a sincere seeker, for his purpose in meeting Jesus is noble: he wants to inquire about eternal life. The man’s gesture of kneeling before Jesus shows his humility. But his addressing him as “good teacher” is not appropriate and Jesus rejects it by asking, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus explains why he refuses the characterization of himself as “good” by stating, “No one is good except God.” The Old Testament associates the goodness of God with His steadfast love for Israel, and it was common knowledge among the Israelites that it was not proper to call any person “good” except God.
By refusing the appellation “good” Jesus shows his modesty and piety by not claiming for himself qualities or prerogatives that belong to God alone. Here Jesus seems to identify himself with sinful humanity in its alienation from the only good being, God. During his earthly existence, Jesus associated with the sinful humanity.


His preferred choice of the title “Son of Man” for himself is an example of his identification with the humanity as a whole. Jesus submitted himself to John’s baptism of repentance leading to the forgiveness of sins despite being totally sinless. Jesus’ going into the midst of the suffering people and associating with them is another example.
Jesus leads the man to the commandments. The commandments quoted have all to do with one’s relationship with one’s neighbour. (It is to be remem-bered that the first part of the Decalogue deals with our relationship with God and second part with our fellow human beings). In response to the man’s question about the way to inherit eternal life, Jesus points to the Commandments. There is no reason to doubt the man’s sincerity when he says, “Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth.” Jesus shows affection for the man. Ironically, then, this “man who has everything” still lacks the one thing necessary – the gift of being free enough from his possessions to follow Jesus’ call wholeheartedly.
Jesus now offers a solution to the man’s problem: “Go, sell whatever you have and give to the poor.” Jesus’ command to give away all one’s wealth has caused problems to subsequent Christians largely because they have been reluctant to do so. Christians as any other people are after the pursuit of riches and good life. Starting with Clement of Alexandria, many have tried to interpret the words of Jesus. Clement insists that the instruction is not to be interpreted literally but allegorically; the command to sell everything, then, signifies that man should rid himself of his anxieties and passions about his wealth, not the wealth itself.
The man is unable to trust God in the way that Jesus suggests; at Jesus’ word he becomes resentfully depressed and goes away grief-stricken. It is paradoxical that the only individual in the Gospel whom Jesus is explicitly said to love ends up rejecting his call. Let us put all these in a proper perspective: God has placed us in a resourceful and rich environment where we are expected to flourish but always keeping our focus on God like the sunflower that follows every movement of the sun.

– Fr Devasia Puthiyaparambil SSP
October 2015 READINGS OF THE WEEK Psalter Week 4
12 Mon (G) Rom 1:1-7/ Ps 98:1-4/ Lk 11:29-32
13 Tue (G) Rom 1:16-25/ Ps 19:2-5/ Lk 11:37-41
14 Wed (G) St Callistus 1, Rom 2:1-11/ Ps 62:2-3,6-7,9/ Lk 11:42-46
15 Thu (W) (International Day of Rural Women) St Teresa of Avila,
Rom 3:21-30/ Ps 130:1-6/ Lk 11:47-54
16 Fri (W) Sts Margaret Mary Alacoque & Bl. Augustine Thevarparambil,
Rom 4:1-8/ Ps 32:1-2,5,11/ Lk 12:1-7
17 Sat (R) St Ignatius of Antioch, Rom 4:13,16-18/ Ps 105:6-9,42-43/ Lk 12:8-12
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