In the first reading and in the psalm, we hear about the value of wisdom. In the Old Testament, Solomon asked for wisdom. God rewarded this unselfish prayer by giving Solomon wisdom that surpassed all humans at that time, as well as riches to boot! As I was reading the passage from Luke on Thursday – “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you” – I discovered a part of that verse that (perhaps) I had overlooked in the past. The passage concludes: “How much more will the Father give The Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” The child in us often hears what we want to hear – namely that all we have to do is ask and our “wishes” will be granted. He promises to give us a higher – even better gift – the gift of the Holy Spirit. He has our best interests at heart – especially our eternal interests!
How often do we pray for the gifts of the Spirit? How often do we pray for wisdom or discernment in a given situation? Don’t these precious gifts far surpass any THINGS that might make us happy for a moment – and then the moment passes.
In the gospel, we hear about the rich young man. He followed the commandments. He loved the Lord. He tried hard to live a good life. When Jesus tells him that he must sell all his material possessions and give the money to the poor, he simply cannot do it, and this makes the man sad.
I tell my students, we must order our lives in this way: God first, family second, everyone and everything else third. Nothing else will make us truly happy – lastingly happy! It is a goal for each of us to work toward. I can honestly say that if my house burned to the ground today, I would not be sad about losing anything – EXCEPT for pictures of my children as they’ve grown up. Those pictures bring back happy memories of precious times that cannot be recaptured. Those pictures would be the material things holding me back.
In the gospel, Jesus says that it is harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle. I don’t often think of myself as fitting into that “rich” category, however, if I am compared to all of the people in the world, I suppose I am rich. I do have a lot of stuff. Thankfully, Jesus gives us great hope when He says, ” “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
I know a family who is very wealthy. They have a gorgeous home in a beautiful waterfront location. They are also people of great faith, and have put God and others first in their lives. They use their money to help others. This family has adopted three children – one who needs special care 24/7. Their lives are a powerful witness to God.
In Theology of the Body, I teach my students that the opposite of love is use. We love God first. We love people. We use stuff. If we order our lives in this way, then we will have our priorities in proper order – in a Godly order!
Final thought – the second reading really struck me regarding the power of the Word of God:
“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.“
St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ.” I’ve also heard it said that the bible is “God’s love letter to us.” It is a powerful window into the mind and ways of God. It is a very useful tool in the process of prayerful discernment on anything that is going on in your life. Of course, if you are reading this reflection on today’s readings, you have probably already discovered the power of the Word of God. Keep reading, and treasure His Word in your heart!
Check out this short, funny video on why we should read the bible: