A reading from the book of Wisdom
“I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her.” We all pray for many different reasons, but have you ever prayed for wisdom or prudence? Maybe you did when you were taking a test at school, but what about now, when you have a difficult decision to make? It is not as though you are praying into some abyss. Rather, you and I have the very Spirit of God living within us, our partner, our source of wisdom and strength. Certainly, we should ask others that we trust when we are in need of wisdom, but let’s not forget the Holy Spirit, who is never far away, and seek the divine wisdom in prayer.
“Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy.” God’s love comes to us in many ways and always brings us joy. Reflect for a moment on times recently when love came to you, when someone in some way touched you with love. Did it bring a smile to your face even if you were not exactly singing for joy? That is a good start.
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews
“Brothers and sisters: 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.” How does the word of God come to you? It comes certainly through reading and praying the scriptures but also in your everyday conversations and times of quiet. There is often a deeper message than what at first is apparent if we can listen with our hearts.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark
A man runs up to Jesus and asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus tells him about the Commandments, and the man says, “I have observed them from my youth.” Then, “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him ‘You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ … At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God. … It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’” The apostles then asked him “Then, who can be saved?” Jesus answered, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.’”
Few of us consider ourselves as financially rich, but in relation to most people in the world and even in our own country, we are. What should we do? How can we share our riches with those in need? That is what Jesus is asking of this man and of us today. The answer might be different for each of us, but we should ask ourselves the question that Jesus asked, knowing that nothing is impossible for God and his mercy for us.
Photo by Katt Yukawa on Unsplash
Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Bill Ayers was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. Bill was a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.