Sunday, October 11, 2009

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear All,

The First Reading from the Book of Wisdom is part of the prayers of King Solomon, son of David, the final king of the United Monarchy before the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah split. Salomon was the builder of the first temple in Jerusalem. He ruled during forty years about 10th Century BCE. We read a beautiful poem exulting wisdom above everything, deeming riches nothing in comparison to her with very vivid contrasts of gold to sand and silver to mud (mire). Solomon prayed for wisdom, yet all good things came to him in company of her (wisdom is addressed as a female in the whole book) and countless riches.

The Letter to the Hebrews passage this week has a very graphic description of the sharpness of the word of God. While we can’t tell what the distance is between soul and spirit, we do understand the narrowness between joints and marrow. Awesome to know that God is able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. Sometimes a bit frightening to learn that everything is naked and exposed to the eyes or God. We all have had thoughts at some point or other which we really wouldn’t want anyone to know. The reassuring thing about this, our God who sees it all, is that he is also a loving and forgiving God. As long as we ask for it… but that is topic of some future reflection.

The Gospel passage from Mark sort of tears me in two directions. Initially I am thrilled to find a successful business man asking the right question: “What does it take to inherit eternal life”. Often one encounters successful people that are only interested in knowing how to become even more successful in the here and now. Be it wondering when the first million will be earned or when the next promotion will be awarded or how to win the next tournament or big contract. Finding someone asking the right question is encouraging. The good teacher inquires about basics. Again the young man is up to speed with

the don’ts of the commandments (not kill, not commit adultery, not steal, not defraud, not bear false witness) and honors father and mother. One can sense that even Jesus is delighted when Mark tells us that looking at the successful man, he loved him. At this point Jesus invites him to get to the next level in his spiritual life, by getting rid of all he possesses to become a disciple. The young man is dismayed (“his face fell”) and he went away. He got stuck on his spiritual journey, not being able to go beyond the basics, to the point that he is lost in history. We don’t know his name or anything else about him. It is here where I personally continue to struggle with the idea of giving everything up. I don’t believe Jesus is asking us to become material masochists. Yet letting go of material things that clutter our lives and freely giving to needy ones has proven a spiritual uplift. I have also experienced what Jesus teaches to his disciples toward the end of today’s Reading: “no one has given… who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age”. I have to admit that only recently I have been able to stay with the reading to get to that very sentence. I used to ‘go away sad’ from this reading at the point of the camel and the needle’s eye. While I am more comfortable with it, I know that I have a long way to go in my own spiritual journey.

In summary asking for wisdom and giving freely have rewarded in history, are announced in two passages this week and at some level many of us have experience it in our own lives. May it encourage us to do more!

The complete text of today’s Readings can be found at

With God’s Love and Blessings,


For a Print version (pdf file) go to


  1. Great insight.


  2. Rainer

    Giving is on so many levels but as you have pointed out in earlier communiques,
    it is about others

    Thanks and saludos