What, then, are the "many possessions" that keep us from giving ourselves totally to God? What are we clinging to -- material things, comfort zones, relationships?
The rich young man in today's Gospel wants to know what we all want to know -- how to live in this life so that we might live forever in the world to come. He seeks what today's Psalm calls "wisdom of heart."
He learns that the wisdom he seeks is not a program of works to be performed or behaviors to be avoided. As Jesus tells him, observing the commandments is essential to walking the path of salvation -- but it can only get us so far.
The Wisdom of God is not precepts, but a person -- Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Wisdom whose Spirit was granted to Solomon in today's First Reading. Jesus is the Word of God spoken of in today's Epistle. And Jesus, as He reveals Himself to the rich man today, is God.
In Jesus, we encounter Wisdom, the living and effective Word of God. As He does with the rich man today, He looks upon each of us with love. That look of love, that loving gaze, is a personal invitation -- to give up everything to follow Him.
Nothing is concealed from His gaze, as we hear in the Epistle. In His fiery eyes, the thoughts of our hearts are exposed, and each of us must render an account of our lives (see Revelation 1:14).
We must have the attitude of Solomon, preferring Wisdom to all else, loving Him more than even life itself. This preference, this love, requires a leap of faith. We will be persecuted for this faith, Jesus tells His disciples today. But we must trust in His promise -- that all good things will come to us in His company.
What, then, are the "many possessions" that keep us from giving ourselves totally to God? What are we clinging to -- material things, comfort zones, relationships? What will it take for us to live fully for Christ's sake and the sake of the Gospel?
Let us pray for the wisdom to enter into the kingdom of God. With the Psalmist, let us ask Him, "Teach us."
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
- Scott Hahn is the founder and president of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He is also the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb's Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are The Creed, Joy to the World and Evangelizing Catholics.