28th Sunday Ordinary Time October 10, 2021
What do you think about Jesus telling the wealthy young man that he had to give away all of his possessions in order to follow him?
In order to answer this we must also look at the other readings. The first one says that wisdom is worth more than health, wealth and beauty combined. The second reading tells us why – that we must live by God’s wisdom since we will be judged by how we live and that eternity depends on it.
The young man was keeping the commandments but in the end he did not want to give up his wealth to follow Jesus.
Young men and women are still being called to the life of poverty, chastity and obedience. An example is the call to religious life in a religious order. When an individual takes the vow of poverty, he or she chooses to renounce personal worldly possessions and instead engage in communal sharing of resources.
A vow is a sacred promise or commitment made publicly with the approval of the Church. Through their vows, a religious sister or brother or priest responds with their whole life to God’s invitation to love Him completely and without reserve. This free response is a fuller expression of their baptismal call and is, for one who is genuinely called to the consecrated life, a means to greater holiness.
All Christians are called to live the virtues of chastity, poverty and obedience; but most of us have issues with this, especially here in America.
We are all called to live chaste lives, whether we are single or married, lay person or priest or religious. As a priest, I cannot marry, I am to remain celibate and chaste for the rest of my life. I was married for 30 years when my wife died, and as a deacon at the time, I knew that as a widower I would have to be celibate, I also could not remarry and remain a permanent deacon. As a priest, I dedicate my life to God and my parishioners and need to be available as needed.
Lay persons need to be chaste outside of marriage and have spousal relations only of married.
The total chastity which priests and religious are called to live is an encouragement and support to people in every state of life. If God calls some to perfect chastity, then it is possible by God’s grace to live in other states of life without premarital sex, or adultery or other sins against marriage.
We all have to live chaste lives; only the manner and degree of sacrifice differ. A single person must be celibate until marriage and a married person must be celibate with all except their spouse. This is fidelity and faithfulness, without which marriages do not survive very long.
What about poverty?
We are allowed to live comfortably if we have not professed a vow of poverty, but our main focus as disciples should be Jesus, not possessions. If we live simply and comfortably, we don’t worry about debt and paying bills that are beyond our means. Our daily lives and our focus can instead be on Jesus, and doing what he wants us to do with our time and our talents and our treasure. We must remember that we cannot take our wealth or our possessions with us when it is our time to go to heaven. And we should not leave headaches for our heirs either. I have a large collection of books, and my son has already told me to get rid of them, he does not want them, so I too need to detach from possessions as well.
Obedience to God’s laws, especially his 10 commandments is required of us all. As a priest, I also have promised to be obedient to my bishop and his successors.
As good citizens we all should obey the laws of civil authorities, unless they are in some way contrary to the demands of the moral order.
Pray for vocations, especially in your own families, and if you have the calling, like Mary, say yes to God.
I will end with a prayer to Mary as we all experience the impact of COVID-19 on our lives.