Saint for the day: Gabriel of our Lady of Sorrows (1838 – 1862)
Sirach 17:20-24 – Psalm 32 – Mark 10:17-27
The following “Reflection” was originally written in May, 2013 while I was still in Africa but getting ready to come back to the US. I often look back to reflections that are saved on the computer from 2008 until the present to see if I have made any progress in my following the Lord Jesus. So, here it is!
The young man in today’s Holy Gospel is the ”everyman” for us who want to know what we need to do to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The answer he gets from Jesus, however isn’t what he wanted to hear. For me, as I get closer and closer to the date for me departure from Kenya, this Gospel hit me square in the face and I slump back sad, “because I have many possessions” collected in my almost eight years serving as a Dominican missionary.
As I sort through the “stuff” stashed in boxes and on bookshelves in my small room each item reminds me of some endeavor or project that I was involved in and that accomplished a good end and helped people on their journey toward the Kingdom. That’s not a bad thing. Jesus, Himself, used “visual aids” to drive home what He was telling His followers. “Look at the lilies of the field…” Or the image from today’s Holy Gospel, “It will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle…”
As word gets around that I am leaving Kenya and returning to my home Province in the US I’m getting notes from people telling me of the various ways in which I helped them in past situations. Most of these comments don’t involve things or objects but ways in which I spoke or said something that helped them to continue on their own, personal journey.
One of the things that I harp on with our young friars here in Kenya is the admonition not to put too much focus on getting a “job” or a particular “ministry.” I tell them, “Just focus on becoming a good Dominican – prayerful and loving – and the rest will just naturally fall into place.
Now, after saying all this, I still have to go back to my room where there are stacks of “things” that I’ve collected over the eight years being in Africa. How do I sort through all of this and still hear the words of Jesus in today’s Holy Gospel: “don’t let your possessions take possession of you. If you can walk away from these “things” you’ll have treasure in Heaven.”
I’m sure that we all have a long way to go in this regard. And I hope that this encore reflection still speaks to something in your own, personal journey to the kingdom. Amen!