What is our greatest possession?
Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 7:7-11; Hebrews 4:12-13; Mark 10: 17-30
I can recall one of the devastating moments of my life and that of my wife was when we were victims of Super storm Sandy. When we were permitted to return home, it was a devastating site and we have lost the first floor of hour home. Not only was the horror of what we found and smelled in our home shocking we also realized that many of the treasured pictures and items we had saved over our twenty plus years of marriage were destroyed. These personal possessions that lay on the street to be picked up by the sanitation department made us cry and realize how short and fickle life is. We soon realized as so many in our community the true meaning of life and that is each other and love.
During the clean up of our home and area we found ourselves along with our neighbors accepting soup, blankets, and other items provided by the Red Cross and various religious organizations who came to help us in our hour of need. My wife and I realized that for the many years we worked in the service of others and the poor that we now were the recipients of other people’s generosity. It was a time of devastation but a time of community coming together as one and really showing love and support. It was a time when we came to realize the greatest possession, we have is each other and that of family, faith, and friends.
In our readings today we are reminded that we have many possessions in our life. Some of these possessions are material, others are the way we look at others and life, some are our political or religious ideas and opinions, and others are based on life experience. These possessions while being somethings we value if not used for the common good can become obstacles to the good of others.
The person who comes to Jesus came for affirmation that they had done in following the rules and regulations that they would have eternal life and when Jesus looks at them with love and see what is in their heart and request that they give up their possessions they cannot do it and walk away sad. In Jesus time possessions were not material for all was shared but community and family. Jesus was asking the person to leave the comfort of their home and environment and trust in the Divine and follow Jesus on his journey. The person walked away sad and disappointed because the treasure of community, family and comfort was too precious to give up.
Jesus calls you and I to look at what we hold dear to our heart be it material or personal items and reevaluate those things and see if those possessions cause us to love less or even spend less time with the people in our lives who love us. We are so busy in our lives accumulating wealth for our retirements or families, yet we do not know what the future holds. How many of us because of the long hours we work and unhealthy eating habits find that we become ill before we retire and all that we have accumulated goes to cover the cost of our care? How many of us save and work long hours and never make it to retirement? How many of us work and save and force our children to do something we could not do which makes them feel unhappy and pull away from us leaving us with our wealth and alone?
Our life decisions and where we put our trust and energy says a lot about our relationship with the Divine and others. If we spend all our time and money making our lives meaningful and forget about those who are suffering, we are not following the call and mission we have been given by the Lord. If we teach our children to think about themselves first and then others, we will not be following the command to love our neighbor as our self. If we follow all the rules and regulations of culture, religion and society and do not reflect on the impact of these structures on the common good of all people we are not seeing the Divine within all creation. We are called as Christians to first see the Divine loving presence of life within ourselves and then we will see that what we are called to is to serve all people with joy and gladness not holding on to the things that we desire and possess but sharing with others the things we desire and possess.
There are so many people suffering in our world today. It is not a coincidence that this gospel is presented to us to have us reflect on our possessions and see if we could help another person. We do not have excess money to give but we all have time. Time for us is a precious commodity that we in the West have been taught to use for productivity to keep our economic system going. Yet time can also be used for productivity that does not have a price tag like prayer, spending time volunteering in a food pantry or soup kitchen, offering to call someone who is lonely or visiting someone who is sick. Time and love are our greatest gifts that do not cost anything but can change the life of another person. Are we using our time wisely?
Soon the holiday season will begin. We will be making plans for the holidays what to buy how to spend our time. Will we spend any time or money on those who are less fortunate this holiday season? If you are looking for a great cause I suggest you consider St. Francis Community of Faith for All People. We will be collecting non-perishable food for our Food Pantry and Gifts for those children and adolescents who do not have anything for the holidays. Even if you cannot bring your food or gift to the church, you can make an offering and designate it for our food pantry or toy drive. Know that your donation will be used for whatever you designate it. You can always visit our website www.cfapli.net and go to our community projects page and donate.
Today we are challenged before the holiday season begins to ask ourselves what do we do with our possessions of money, time, love, and material items and can we consider sharing some with those less fortunate?
Let us pray for ourselves that we will reflect on these readings and see if we could be more open to sharing with others. Let us also pray for our faith communities that we will be open to all so that we and they can share in the bounty of faith and love and serve one another with joyful gladness today and throughout the season of giving.