Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the fact of how difficult it is for us to enter into the kingdom of God, and how we cannot be idle in our lives as Christians as we have plenty of expectations for us in living as true and devout Christians. At the heart of it all is the love that we must have for the Lord, our commitment and dedication towards Him.
In the Gospel passage today, we heard about the encounter between the Lord Jesus and a young, rich man who professed his intention of wanting to follow the Lord Jesus. When the Lord asked the rich young man whether he had done everything that the laws of Moses had specified for him to do, the young man responded that he had been faithful in everything that the law prescribed. Yet, when the Lord asked him to leave everything behind and follow Him completely, the young man left in sorrow.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, what actually happened in that encounter between the Lord and the rich, young man? The Lord did not intend to condemn or treat the rich with contempt, but instead, He wanted to make a point before His disciples and the people who followed Him, that in order for us to be true disciples of the Lord, we must have that love and commitment in us, to be ready and to be able to do everything for the Lord.
We must be careful here not to understand the Lord’s words and actions literally at the surface level, or else, we will misunderstand His intentions, thinking that He is asking all of us Christians must sell everything that we have and give everything we have to the poor. This is not what He intends for us to do, for then, if everyone is accounted under the same rule, then who should we give all the proceeds to in the end? For those who are poor and receive the possessions will become richer in turn, and then they too have to sell theirs and it will end up in endless cycles of passing on of possessions and wealth from one to another person.
And neither did Jesus condemn the rich or those with possessions and power. Instead, what He warned us all is the dangerous attachments we can develop to these worldly things, that can prevent us from being true disciples of His, for our hearts and minds are not centred and focused on Him, but rather on those wealth, power, fame, glory and other forms of worldly temptations and attachments we have.
As in the case of the young and rich man, who left in sorrow after the Lord has asked him to sell everything that he had possessed and follow Him, we can see that his love, his concern and attachment to his possessions is much greater than his love and commitment to the Lord. That was why he immediately left in sorrow, and not even giving a reply to the Lord’s request for him. He could not bear to part with all the riches and glory he had.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, God has blessed us all with these riches, blessings and all the goodness of the world. Some of us have more while some others have less. God has given all these to us, for us to make good use of them, to share them with those who are less fortunate and suffering, that we do not ignore their pleas for help. We should not be selfish or be overly attached to those possessions, for it is not that God does not want us to possess anything, but instead, He does not want us to idolise and be overly attached to them.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to overcome our often unhealthy attachments to worldly materials and goods? Are we able to look beyond worldly matters, and refocus our attentions in life to the Lord, that we can overcome our greed and pride, ego and desires within us, and therefore, be able to redirect our efforts to serve the Lord in various ways, and be generous in giving and in sharing our love and blessings with each other?
Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Casimir, a royal prince of Poland and Lithuania, who despite of his wealthy and noble upbringing and birth, did not hesitate to show his love and compassion for the needy, the sick and the poor, being known for his generous dedication of money as well as effort and time to care for the poor in the kingdom. St. Casimir was also renowned for his great piety and love for God. When he died at a young age of twenty-five, everyone remembered him for his love both for God and for his fellow men.
Let us all dedicate ourselves anew to the Lord just as St. Casimir has shown us, that from now on we will no longer live our lives for the purpose of self-gratification and self-glorification, but instead, strive for the greater good of all, and for the greater glory of God, through our every words, actions and deeds in life. May God be with us always, and may He bless all of our good works. Amen.