Sunday Gospel reflections: Will you give cheerfully?

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

"Christ and the Rich Young Ruler" by Johann Michael Ferdinand Heinrich Hofmann (1824–1911). Photo: Riverside Church, New York/Public Domain
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I remember racing home from school with my report card, blazing with great marks. After careful scrutiny, my dad would say there was still room for improvement. Today’s Gospel brings that memory back. I know that my dad was very proud of me; yet he was challenging me to be better.

When the rich young man eagerly approaches Jesus, he wants to make Jesus aware that he has lived a good life, for he has followed the commandments. Jesus “loved him” and then challenged him to do more, to be better, to use his wealth to help others as his journey to salvation. The rich young man walked away — Jesus was asking more than he could do.

The Jewish people saw wealth as a sign of favor from God. In fact it is the gift of salvation that is a sign of God’s favor — “for God all things are possible.”

Jesus’ words demonstrate that the commandments are meant as a framework for our faith; we are called to go beyond “you shall not” and open ourselves to “you shall.” Faith fully lived is a call to action in our daily lives. Our riches, whether material wealth, talents, or time, are meant to be shared with others.

We have often heard that God loves a cheerful giver. Will we give cheerfully, or will we walk away?

— Susan Berlingeri


Readings:

Wisdom 7:7–11

Psalm 90:12–13,14–15,16–17

Hebrews 4:12–13

Mark 10:17–30 or 10:17–27

 

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