Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the message of today’s Scripture readings is very, very clear to us, and in case any of us have not realised and understood what this message is, then let us all discuss them here together, that all of us may understand the importance of what we heard today from the Holy Scriptures, for the sake of the salvation of our souls.
From the first reading taken from the Book of Wisdom, we are exhorted to look for the true treasure that we can find in this life, that is not wealth or possessions, neither pleasures of life or joys of this world, neither in food or revelry, neither human praise nor in fame, but in the knowledge of the wisdom of God, and the understanding of the truth that can only be found in God.
In the psalm today, we heard the very last line, which said to us that we ought to know the shortness of our lives, and asking us to let ourselves be filled and be completely taken by the wisdom of God, which will fill us up with true grace and wonders, that cannot be offered or be given by the world, for the wonders of God’s wisdom and might is infinitely far better.
This is to let us all know that for all the greatness and the wonders that the world can offer us or boast to us, all these are mere fleeting and temporary, and nothing of these can offer us true and lasting joy. And that is what Jesus in the Gospel today is trying to let us all know as well. For the wealth of this world is perishable, just as much as our flesh and bodies are perishable.
What does this mean? This means that all the money, the properties, houses, cars, buildings and all forms of wealth both tangible and intangible are all perishable by the forces of nature and by the hands of men. Take for example, a natural disaster like fire or earthquake or many other manifestations of these disasters, can easily destroy all that we have gathered so hard for our own satisfaction and pleasure.
And if we think that if we store our possessions in banks and similar institutions, or convert them into something like bonds and stocks, thinking that they are safe, then we really ought to realise how wrong we are. Banks and other institutions, even the mightiest ones, have fallen low and be destroyed by their own greed, or by other reasons, and when they fall, they bring together with them all of those who have entrusted what they had invested in them.
Surely we have seen how throughout history there are those who placed their trust and hopes in the upsurge of stock prices only to be sorely disappointed and even crushed by collapse or meltdown in the financial markets. Countless millions had experienced sufferings because they lost their hard earned money thinking that they could earn even more money quickly through such methods.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Gospel today spoke about Jesus our Lord, who spoke to a man who said to Him that he had done everything that the Law of God, or more specifically, the law of Moses had asked him to do, the commandments, the rules and obediences that he had to perform in accordance to the Jewish customs and faith, but who did not feel satisfied in his heart, because he did not feel the true satisfaction, and thus he asked that question to Jesus.
And Jesus told him the fact, the hard truth, that in order to be truly faithful, obedient, and ultimately to find the true satisfaction, one must be ready to part with all that he has, and abandon everything and follow Him in His ways, walking together the path of Jesus towards eternal life and salvation. This is the fact that Jesus had spoken to the man, which unfortunately was too much for him to bear.
And Jesus did say that the more that one has, the more difficult it is for one to part with all the multitudes and myriads of things that they have. And this is indeed very true, because it is our human nature to be greedy and to be filled with desire, and this desire is for things that satisfy the lust and greed of our human flesh, of our mortal bodies, the desire for money, for praise and fame, for adulation and glory, for pleasures of the body and sexual gratification and many others.
The more we have all these, and the more we make it a norm and a habit for us to have these, to pursue these and to want to have these, then we have to realise that we will be drawn ever further away from God’s grace and salvation, for in exchange of all these worldly pleasures and goodness, that are illusory and temporary, we have sold our rights and inheritance of God’s everlasting kingdom, by committing sins that make us unworthy to receive His grace and blessings.
Yet, we have to understand also that God did not mean that we should take His words completely at the literal level and sell everything we have, destroying all of our possessions or disowning them, or breaking apart our families and relationships just because Jesus said so to the man and to His Apostles. Indeed, He said that no one who had left behind worldliness and attachments to this world that will not be rewarded richly in the presence of God, but what He truly meant is different than what we understand if we read it merely at the literal level.
What our Lord meant is that we must be willing to forgo and break our attachments to the things of this world, that are the temptations that Satan and his tempters are presenting to us daily in order to tempt us and pull as away fron ever reaching God’s salvation, but it does not mean that those worldly goods are inherently evil in themselves.
Money and possessions can be beneficial when they are used appropriately, and they can be used for good purposes, such as helping the needy and supporting one another, that everyone can have a good life without suffering. And relationships and family ties are indeed necessary, for the family is truly the heart of our Christian faith. It is one of the strong pillars that supported the Church, for without strong and good Christian families, I fear that countless souls will be lost to damnation.
What our Lord Jesus is condemning is our unhealthy attachment to those things of this world, that caused us to behave in a wicked manner, in acts of selfishness and disgrace that brought about suffering to others around us. This is evident in how many people refused to share or give even a little of what they have, in order to help alleviate the suffering of others around them, and instead, endeavoured to gain even more of what they already had, or even engaging in the exploitation of the weak and the poor for this purpose.
It is this attachment to the world, to all the worldliness and the refusal to let go of all these things that our Lord condemned from us. He chides us for our stubbornness and our constant and continued acts of selfishness that showed how far we have fallen into the trap of our own greed and desire, and the extent of which we have allowed ourselves to fall is indeed worrying.
Now, therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, the choice lie before us, on whether we choose the path of the world, enjoying the goods and riches, the wonders and the pleasures of life, seeking the easy path and succumbing to our own desires and wanting ever more good things in our lives, without realising that all we have are merely illusory and temporary, and there will be a time when all of these will be taken away from us and we are left with nothing, or we can choose to follow the path that is more difficult and uncertain in the beginning, or it may seem so to us, but in the end, will bear us the everlasting fruits of heaven.
Jesus told His disciples the parable about a rich man who had so much wealth and riches, that he boasted that he should bring down his barns and storage places to build even bigger ones to store more of his wealth. But the Lord rebuked him and said to him that he was truly a fool for believing that he had all such glory and good things, when the Lord Himself would claim him on that very night.
Thus, through this, we see again the futility of the path of greed and the path of wickedness. Instead, let us all from now on, devote ourselves anew to the Lord and commit ourselves to His ways. Let us all seek to renew our zeal and courage to stand up for our faith and resist the temptations of the devil and the allures of the world. And instead of selfishly keeping all things to ourselves, let us make use of what we have been blessed with, and share that blessing with one another.
May Almighty God awaken in each one of us a heart of renewed charity, that we may become ever more sensitive to the cries of the poor and to the needs of the poor and those who are less fortunate around us, not just in wealth, but also those whose hearts are still shrouded in the darkness of greed and wickedness. Let us help one another to reach out to the Lord, and through repentance find His mercy. May our Lord bring us all His beloved children, into His everlasting kingdom. Amen.