Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 9:31 AM
Tues, Apr 17 Exploring our Catholic Faith "Allowing God to Transform our Pain" 6:30 in the church. Thurs Apr 19, 6 pm Frank Kelly returns with witness talk and healing service. Bring your friends!

10/11/15 Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Reggie

St Mark makes a surprising observation as he tells us about this encounter between Jesus and the rich young man. After the young man explains that he has followed the commandments since his youth, St Mark tells us that: "Jesus, looking at him, loved him."St Mark makes a surprising observation as he tells us about this encounter between Jesus and the rich young man. After the young man explains that he has followed the commandments since his youth, St Mark tells us that: "Jesus, looking at him, loved him."  

But what may be even more surprising is what Jesus said to the young man after giving him this look of love. He tells him to go off and sell all his possessions – the very things that this young man is most attached to. Now, if Jesus really loved this young man, why would he ask him to give up what he valued most? If Jesus really loved this young man, why would he be so demanding? Why would he make him so uncomfortable?

The Lord is constantly doing the same for us: looking at us with deep, personal love, and inviting us to follow him more closely, even though it will mean leaving our comfort behind.

Imagine that you are in a cafe holding a mug full of warm coffee.

Now, you like coffee and are used to coffee, but in the back of your mind you are convinced that there may be something that will satisfy your thirst better than coffee.

So you bring your mug up to the counter and ask for a drink of something more satisfying.

The man at the counter says, "Sure! We have just the thing – a special brew. It tastes fantastic, fills you up with energy, and lasts the whole day long."

But when he reaches for your mug, you hesitate. You have never tried this special brew, and you are a little suspicious: What if it's not as good as the man says it is? Maybe you should just stick with what’s familiar. You can't have both, because you only have one mug. To get the special brew, you would have to pour out the warm coffee.

That's the situation this young man finds himself in. His mug is full of wealth and possessions. Jesus is offering him true, lasting wisdom instead, promising that it will give him the satisfaction his money hasn't given him, but he hesitates, afraid to take the risk.

It's an image that helps us understand the nature of sin in general.

Sin is putting something in God's place; putting something that ought to be second place into first place; filling our mug with warm coffee when God really gave us the mug so that we could drink his special brew.

The Seven Capital Sins identify the seven most common "somethings" that we tend to put in God's place, seven brands of warm coffee, so to speak.

These “somethings” are good in themselves, but they become obstacles to our happiness when we give them first place. Pride puts our own achievements in God's place, as if they were capable of giving us the meaning and fulfillment that only comes from God. Lust puts sexual pleasure in God's place. Gluttony puts the pleasures of food, drink, or drugs in the mug. Anger puts our own self-will in God's place ("my way or the highway!"). Envy puts our reputation or popularity before God. Sloth puts our comfort before God. And greed, as in the case of this rich young man, idolizes money.

Unless we pour out the warm coffee, whichever brand it may be, we simply won't have room in our souls for the special brew that brings true satisfaction.

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