28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we hear from the Book of Wisdom. We also hear from the Letter to the Hebrews which speaks to us about the Word of God. Our first reading from the Old Testament is paired with our second reading from the New Testament to direct our minds and hearts to the same focus. Wisdom is understanding the will of God. The will of God is revealed to us by the Word of God. The Word of God is Jesus. As St Paul writes, Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.” In our Gospel today, Jesus speaks about following God‘s will, following God‘s Commandments. Jesus gives us a key component that would allow us to understand God‘s will and follow God‘s Commandments. Jesus gives us insight into true wisdom.

Let’s return to our first reading today from the Book of Wisdom. We have someone praying urgently. We typically do this ourselves. We pray intensely and earnestly. For what do we pray? Do we pray for ourselves? Do we pray for others? Do we pray for better health? Do we pray for a better living situation? What has our attention when we enter spiritual dialogue with the Divine? To say it more plainly, what do you talk about with God? In our first reading from the Book of Wisdom, the person who is praying is asking for wisdom. The person is asking to understand the will of God. That is a wonderful thing to seek. That is a wonderful thing to ask God. The person praying places wisdom, ie. understanding God’s will, above all else.

In our second reading today, the Letter to Hebrews directs us to the Word of God. The Word of God is the Second Person of the Trinity. It is the Son. S-O-N. It is the Word made flesh, Who is Jesus the Christ. The Letter to Hebrews tells us that the Word of God must enter into who we are. It must penetrate deeply into our spirit. More than anything going into bone or marrow. It must become a part of us. So we can ask ourselves today and every day is Christ a part of us? Is Christ reflected in our words? Is Christ reflected in our actions? Is Christ reflected in our deeds? Do we allow Christ to direct our behavior? When we would naturally not desire to be kind, or patient, or understanding, do we take a moment of prayer and ask for God‘s help? And then do we find ourselves connecting with Christ and becoming more able to live in his spirit?

Jesus speaks to us about wisdom in today’s Gospel. Jesus is not saying that wealthy people cannot enter heaven. Jesus is saying that we need to be detached from the things of this world. Our ultimate treasure is our relationship with God and being able to present ourselves to the Lord in a way that pleases Him. This is also the focus of the Letter to the Hebrews today. We are reminded that we will have to give an accounting of our lives to the Lord. We should have that as our number one focus in life. We should not have the acquisition of things and the establishment of creature comforts as our main goals in life.

At the time of Jesus, it was widely believed that wealth was a sign of predestination for salvation. The thinking was that if you were wealthy God was blessing you in this life and it was a sign that you were chosen for the next life to be also blessed, i.e. granted what we call heaven. However Jesus challenges this concept. Jesus states that it is not the acquisition of things in this world that would indicate blessings from God. But rather – generosity of heart indicates one who is living in God’s Spirit. So Jesus directs this wealthy young man to be generous with the poor. Jesus directs this man to great works of charity. It is through great works of charity that we are able to draw close to God. It is through great acts of love and caring for others that draw us close to God. These are the true markers of holiness.

Today let us follow the good example of the one we find praying in the Book of Wisdom. Let us pray for wisdom. Let us pray to always seek to understand God‘s will. Let us pray to be detached from the things of this world. That means we see the things of this world in their proper value. We see them in perspective. We see that they are important, but they are not the ultimate goal. Let us always keep our focus on the ultimate goal of presenting ourselves in a pleasing way to the Lord. Let us pray to be rich in love, rich in charity, and rich in the good we do for others in the name of the Lord. If we do these things we will be rich in ways that truly matter. We will be rich in the Spirit of Christ.

First Reading
Wis 7:7-11

I deemed riches nothing in comparison to wisdom.

A reading from the Book of Wisdom

I prayed, and prudence was given me;
   I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
   nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
   and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
and I chose to have her rather than the light,
   because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
Yet all good things together came to me in her company,
   and countless riches at her hands.


Responsorial Psalm
Ps 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. :

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Teach us to number our days aright,
   that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
   Have pity on your servants!

R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
   that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us,
   for the years when we saw evil.

R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Let your work be seen by your servants
   and your glory by their children;
and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
   prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!

R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!


Second Reading
Heb 4:12-13

The word of God discerns reflections and thoughts of the heart.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Brothers and sisters:
Indeed the word of God is living and effective,
   sharper than any two-edged sword,
   penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow,
   and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
   but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
   to whom we must render an account.


Acclamation before the Gospel
Mt 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel
Mk 10:17-30 or 10:17-27

Sell what you have and follow me.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
   knelt down before him, and asked him,
   “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
   you shall not commit adultery;
   you shall not steal;
   you shall not bear false witness;
   you shall not defraud;
   honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
   “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said 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.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
   “How hard it is for those who have wealth
   to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
   “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
   than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
   “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
   “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
Peter began to say to him,
   “We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
   there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
   or mother or father or children or lands
   for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
   who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
   houses and brothers and sisters
   and mothers and children and lands,
   with persecutions,
   and eternal life in the age to come.”

Or: [Short form]

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
   knelt down before him, and asked him,
   “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
   you shall not commit adultery;
   you shall not steal;
   you shall not bear false witness;
   you shall not defraud;
   honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
   “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said 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.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
   “How hard it is for those who have wealth
   to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
   “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
   than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
   “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
   “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

All reply:

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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