October 14, 2018 — Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Part of the beauty of stewardship spirituality is its simplicity and practicality. It can be summed up in the brief phrase, “All I have is a gift from God and I must make a grateful return to Him for all He has given me.” In making this return, we consider three areas that cover the primary aspects of daily life — Time, Talent, and Treasure.
So simple that even our youngest parishioners can grasp the concept.
But simple does not necessarily mean easy. And simple does not mean shallow.
Today’s readings invite us to look into the truth of what a stewardship way of life is all about. These readings also reveal how this spirituality and way of life require the commitment of our whole being to God. It is anything but easy or shallow. But it is indeed the way to lasting intimacy with God and the path to eternal salvation. It points us to seek after higher things — the wisdom of God and Heaven itself.
Our First Reading speaks of the value of wisdom. “I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.” We are told that God’s wisdom is more precious than any earthly riches or power and that when we possess this gift of wisdom — of seeing things and life as God sees them — we possess “all good things” and “countless riches.”
Our Second Reading, from the Letter to the Hebrews, shows us a way to obtain such wisdom — it is available to us right in the Scriptures. “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.”
The Scriptures are the living Word of God. Every time we approach them in a spirit of prayer, they will speak to us. A passage that we ponder one week can take on entirely new meaning for us in another week. It is God’s living message and it has the power to speak to each of us personally based on our needs at a given moment. It is so simple! God’s wisdom is right there for us. All we need to do is commit some daily Time to seeking it.
The Gospel Reading from Mark is one of the better known passages in the Gospel — the story of the rich young man who went away sad after rejecting Jesus’ wisdom on how to obtain eternal salvation. This passage reminds us that while a stewardship way of life may be simple to understand, it is not easy to live out. In response to the man’s question on what he must do to obtain salvation, Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. The man replies that he has always done this much. But he suspects (rightly) that there is more to being a disciple of Jesus than just following the external rules. Jesus lovingly confirms this, telling him, “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
We are called to be so much more than rule-followers; we are called to be Christ followers. A stewardship way of life asks us to look at three simple, practical areas — Time, Talent, and Treasure. But it asks us to commit to them from the depths of our being. Only then can we truly be free to follow Christ. Only then do we obtain the countless riches of God’s wisdom and a path to eternal life.