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Saturday, October 10, 2015

NOTHING is Impossible with God

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Oct. 11, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

In today’s Gospel (Mark 10:17-30), Jesus
encounters the rich young man. As Jesus is setting out on a journey, a man runs up, kneels down before Him and  asks what he must do to attain eternal life. 

Our Lord reminds him of the commandments. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal, and so on…
The man says that he already observes all the commandments. Yet, he is still not satisfied. He knows something is missing in his life. 

So Our Lord says to him,
"You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions." 

Today's Gospel reminds us of our need for God. Each of us was created for an intimate relationship with our Divine Maker. Like the rich man in today’s Gospel, we all have a hunger for this divine union. Sin, as we know, separates us from God. So Our Lord reminds us we must avoid sin -- if we want eternal life. Keep the commandments. 

Yet, the man emphasizes that he keeps all the commandments. He lives a good life. Yet, he is still not satisfied.

His desire was deeper. He already had everything he could want in life because he was rich. Yet, he leaves Jesus’ presence sad. He was too tied down to the world, and he was not happy. His attachment to the world prevented him from following God’s call. He could not become all that God called him to be. 
Priestly Ordination of Fr. John Paul Shea
My brothers and sisters, in some way each of us are like the rich young man in today’s Gospel. Each of us desires God. Every person -- whether they realize it or not -- desires Truth. This desire is part of the essence of our very being because we were created in God’s image. Yet, we often come  short of true happiness and true freedom because we are tied down to the things of the world.

Instead of seeking God first in our lives, we seek what is of the world such as money or relationships or success or pleasures. We
hold onto material things instead of what truly makes us satisfied. 

If we have many possessions then it becomes easier to distance ourselves from God. Yet, even without a lot of possessions, we can distance ourselves from God and His plan for our lives. Many persons who are wealthy devote their lives to God and His Kingdom.

But what is most important is our attitude toward the things that we do have! Do we place the things of the world above our relationship with God and His will for our lives?
In fact, God is calling many young persons in our Church today to a vocation in the priesthood or religious life, but too many do not answer this call because they are too caught up in the things of the world. 

Married couples are called by God to place their entire marriage and family into God’s hands. Yet, many couples today do not do even get married. Instead, they cohabitate. They take the easy and worldly way out. It will not lead them to eternal life. Like the rich man, cohabiting couples are turning away sad from our Lord’s call in their lives, whether they recognize it or not. 

Today’s Gospel teaches us that no matter what state of life we are in today, no matter what we have done in the past, no matter how much material wealth we may own, God is
calling each one of us to go deeper in our relationship with Him. Yet, our relationship with God requires our commitment.

Faith is not timid! No! True discipleship is not about following Our Lord on our own conditions and terms. True discipleship is not about putting the things of the world first in our lives. True discipleship requires surrendering ourselves to the will of God. True discipleship requires the willingness to give up or change whatever God asks of us.

After Our Lord speaks of the difficulty for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God, the disciples are astonished: “Then who can be
Jesus offers them the million dollar answer: “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."

All things ARE possible for God! He will give us the grace to leave anything that holds us back from true joy with Him for eternity. He will give us the grace to let go of any behavior or lifestyle that prevents us from entering into eternal life. But, we must surrender ourselves to Him.

When we surrender our lives to God unconditionally, we will become all He calls us to be. It is only by surrendering our will over to God that we can inherit eternal life. Let us take the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in today’s Gospel to heart. For our world and everything in it is passing away. Let us focus on what truly matters.

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