Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – B

Readings: Wis. 7:7-11; Heb 4:12-13; Mk 10:17-30

The man who went to Hell with Heaven on his mind.

How is a person to measure happiness? Is there an absolute criterion or criteria by which we can assess a person and declare him or her happy?

Yet in many modern societies, happiness is not measured in terms of intangible quantities or in terms of virtual characteristics, but very much in material terms or by possession of material things. As some would put it: to be happy is to be successful, and to be successful is to be wealthy. Therefore, if one is to be happy, then he or she should aspire to be wealthy.

But, at the end of the day, is wealth everything?

Money can buy a house, but not a home.
Money can buy a bed, but not sleep.
Money can buy a clock, but not time.
Money can buy a book, but not knowledge.
Money can buy food, but not an appetite.
Money can buy you friends but not love.
Money can buy position, but not respect.
Money can buy blood, but not life.
Money can buy insurance, but not safety.
Money can buy a Bible, but not a relationship with Jesus.
Money can buy religion, but not salvation.

“..But the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23

Someone sent me the following SMS: “Life is a continuous challenge and an unending struggle. We are not made rich by what is in our pocket but we are rich by what is in our heart.”

Timothy was a greedy wealthy man. He owned large properties. He always fought with others over money matters. One of his enemies, in order to destroy him, very cleverly presented him with a small “golden fish” in a glass bowl. He told him: “Timothy, when this “golden fish” grows to its normal size and dies a natural death, automatically, it will turn into pure gold. Then, you will be the richest man on earth!”

Timothy’s unquenchable thirst for money overcame his common sense, and he believed the story of the “golden fish”. When Timothy went home he kept his “golden fish” in a small water tank. Then, he generously began feeding his “golden fish”. The fish, to Timothy’s delight, grew very fast. Our Timothy was dreaming of the day when he would collect a heap of gold from his water tank.

After some months, the little tank became too small to contain the “golden fish”, so Timothy at a great expense, had a pond built for the fish, and later on even a little lake! So big had the Golden Fish become! Timothy was impatiently waiting for the fish to stop growing and die; then, and only then, he would become rich beyond his dreams.

After a long, long time, after Timothy had spent all his wealth and health feeding and caring for the ever growing “golden fish”, he, aged and bankrupt, died before the fish could! He did never realize that his enemy had presented him with a baby whale!

Wisdom: 7:7-11

The gift of wisdom is priceless for it comes from God. Riches that are worldly cannot compare with her.

Heb 4: 12-13

The Word of God is powerful because it can discern secret emotions and thoughts. It is to God’s word that we must give an account of ourselves.

MK: 10: 17 – 30

THE POOR OLD SLAVE’S SPIRITUAL DECISION

(Note: Verse 22 tells the sad story of this man’s reaction to the words of the Savior. I hope no one today will do as this man did that day.)

A. He Chose Darkness Over Light - The word “sad” means “to be covered over with a cloud.” He left still enveloped in the cloud of spiritual darkness that surrounded him when he arrived. He was a sad figure as he walked away from the only hope of salvation he had. (Note: People still make the same foolish decision today! The Bible tells us that men won’t come to Jesus because they love darkness, John 3:19-20. That is the recipe for a very sad life!) (Note: When the Spirit gets a hold of you just right, you will be willing to trade your darkness for the light of God! When you see what you are and what He can do for you, it will change everything!)

B. He Chose Defeat Over Liberty – This young man loved his stuff more than he wanted to go to Heaven. He did not realize that he was trapped in the prison of materialism and that all the things he loved so dearly were his cell keepers. Jesus, on the other hand, was offering him life and liberty from his prison. (Note: Again, people still choose the bondage of sin over the liberty of His salvation!)

C. He Chose Death Over Life - When this young man “went away”, he was turning his back on the only one who could have saved his soul! In that moment of time, he said, “I’d rather keep what I have and go to Hell that give up one cent and go to Heaven. I will not make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ.” (Note: I hope you won’t do that today! I hope you will not choose death over life. Jesus wants to give you a life that more abundant than anything you could ever imagine, John 10:10. He wants to liberate you from the things that bind you, Luke 4:18. He wants to save you soul,Heb. 7:25!

In verse 21, Jesus summed up this young man’s dilemma with these words, “One thing thou lackest.” This man had everything, but the most important thing. He had everything but he lacked Jesus! Does that describe you and me? Do you have money? Position? Youth? Beauty? Health? Education? Or anything else you can name, but still lack Jesus? Friend, you don’t have to go another minute without him. Today is a time of personal encounters. Jesus is speaking to hearts right now. Don’t let you encounter with him become a tragic one day. Don’t walk away from Jesus, come to him now!

We don’t know how this man’s story turned out. For all we know, he walked off into the continued darkness of his life and eventually into the darkness of Hell forever. Is that how our story will end too? It doesn’t have to! If you have recognized the fact that you are not right with God. You are not saved and you know it, and you want to meet Jesus, I am inviting you to come to him today so that he can save you and forever change your life! If you are saved, but your commitment to Jesus isn’t what it should be I am inviting you to get that settled today as well. Whatever the need may be, there is help and hope in Jesus.

To be wealthy is not evil. To be wealthy means we have been entrusted with something from God.

When God gives us gifts I think he intends for those gifts to be a blessing. God wants wealth to bring us joy. When we see all we have it should remind us of how blessed we are. Appreciation and thanksgiving for each blessing is a much healthier response than guilt. For when we are guilty we cannot enjoy the gift God has given. While wealth can draw us away from God, through thanksgiving it can also enhance our relationship with God.

Five Things Every Rich Christian Should Do

This list includes the things I think are necessary of every rich Christian. If you have wealth, but one of these things is missing in your life, I’d encourage you to find a way to incorporate it into your life.

1. Rich Christians must acknowledge God as the Source of wealth. When I look around at all of the many things I own it increases my appreciation. I am thankful and humbled in the presence of God. Each day before my family eats we thank God for the meal. In our prayers, we acknowledge that all we have is a gift from God because ultimately God is the source of every blessing we enjoy.

2. Rich Christians should give God absolute ownership. Though the bank account might have my name, I know the money is not my own. I am a steward put in a position to administer God’s funds. As a wealthy person I must seek God’s plan and purpose for my own money.

3. Rich Christians use their position and influence for the kingdom. God’s kingdom can be glorified through doctors, lawyers, and engineers who seek to use not just their money, but also their skills and gifts for the sake of others. One rich man I know teaches business courses overseas and another does surgeries overseas. They use their position and influence for the good of God’s kingdom.

4. Rich Christians give generously from a genuine heart. Barnabas graciously sold a field and laid the money at the feet of the apostles (Acts 4:36-37). The church in Philippi sent money to help Paul, the missionary (Phil. 4:14-18). Apphia and Archippus who opened their home for church meetings (Philemon 2).

5. Rich Christians always give priority to people over things. The Godly rich will never earn money at the expense of others. They will never seek to get things at the expense of others. There may be a way to earn more money, but if it doesn’t honour people, it is not worth considering. As such, the godly rich do not discriminate against the poor (James 2:3-4).

Some one sent me a nice SMS which is so true. It is as follows:

The day man dies, his money will still be in the bank or locker; When man is alive, he thinks he doesn’t have enough money to spend. When man passes away, there is still a lot of money in his bank account not spent. A British tycoon passed away. He left for his widow 1 Billion Pounds in the bank. The widow remarried one of her husband’s young employees. The employee said, “All this while I thought I was working for my boss. I now realize that my boss was all the time working for me!”

The Moral of the Story:
It is more important to live longer than to have more wealth.
• Strive to have a strong and healthy body.
• In an expensive cell phone, 75% of the functions are useless.
• In an expensive car, 75% of the speed is not needed.
• In a big luxurious house, 75% of the space remains unoccupied or unutilized.
• In a whole wardrobe of clothes, 75% of them are rarely worn.
• Out of whole life’s earnings, 75% stays behind for other people to use.
• In every human being, 75% of the talent is not utilized

So, how can we make full use of our 25%?
• Go for medical check-up even when you feel fit.
• Drink more water even if you’re not thirsty.
• Let go your ego, whenever you can.
• Give in even if you are right.
• Be humble even if you are very powerful and be generous to the poor.
• Be contented even if you are not rich.

There’s a lot of humour in the irony of life, death, health and wealth….

  • A man went to his lawyer and told him, ‘My neighbour owes me £500 and he won’t pay up. What should I do?’ ‘Do you have any proof he owes you the money?’ asked the lawyer. ‘Nope,’ replied the man. ‘OK, then write him a letter asking him for the £1,000 he owed you,’ said the lawyer. ‘But it’s only £500,’ replied the man. ‘Precisely. That’s what he will reply and then you’ll have your proof!’
  • A woman was telling her friend , “It is I who made my husband a millionaire.” “And what was he before you married him?” “A multi-millionaire.”

Fr. Gaspar Fernandes, OFM Cap.

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