Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
I’m sorry I haven’t written in over two weeks. We had our seminarian retreat August 5-8 with Deacon James Keating of IPF. It was a powerful experience as he challenged us to die to ourselves and our ego. He also encouraged us to spend a “Happy Hour/ Holy Hour” with the Lord every day. It is in spending that quality time with the Lord that we will save our vocations.
This last week has been busy getting our seminarians ready for seminary. We have some new seminarians from Mexico that just arrived last week and we are excited to have them with us. They will be studying English at the Pontificial Josephinum Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.
Yesterday, we heard how Jesus told the rich young man to “sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and follow me,” in order to be perfect. We continue on this theme of riches in today’s Gospel. With the example of the camel passing through the eye of a needle, Jesus almost closes the doors of heaven to the rich. Realizing this, the disciples ask, “Then who can be saved?” They were getting nervous. We may be getting nervous as well as we read this Gospel.
Jesus calms them a little by saying, “for men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” This gives me great hope. We often spend our whole lives trying to prove ourselves, gathering accolades, prizes and material things, adding to our resumes; yet, we realize that by gathering all of these things, we still are fundamentally empty if we haven’t put Christ at the center of all of it.
Peter, the spokesman for the apostles, then speaks up and basically says, “Lord, we’ve given up everything. So what’s in it for us?” You can hear the selfishness in his question. But Peter is so human. We can all relate so well to Peter’s question. Even though we are trying to follow Christ, rid ourselves of worldly attachments, we still want to know, “What’s in it for me?”
Jesus tells him not to worry. If you have given up house, family or other things for the sake of the Kingdom, you will be rewarded one hundred times and gain eternal life. This is the Good News!
Reading this Gospel, I could not help but think of some of our seminarians from Poland and Mexico. They literally have given up home, country, language, family, everything…and come to this country to serve God as a priest.
This inspires me and makes me ask the question, “What have I given up for Jesus?” I am near my family. I am not starving. I have a roof over my head. I have sacrificed having a wife and children of my own. But I Lord has blessed more than I can possibly imagine. I have a huge family in Christ. I have met so many incredible people by being a priest. They have blessed my life more than . What little I have offered to God to follow Him, He has returned to me more than 100 times over. The more I offer back to Him, the more He gives me peace and joy. I realize that I cannot outdo God in generosity.
May we all meditate on these words of Jesus.
What is the Lord asking me to sacrifice or give up or offer back to Him so that my worship may be pure?
If I’m not asked to leave my home or country or family, am I being called to give up some worldly comforts?
What am I not willing to give up for the sake of Jesus?
I guarantee you “what you give is what you receive” and then some… 100 times more!
Luke 9:24 – “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Give your life away for Jesus and see how He blesses your offering….
Have a blessed day!