Whenever I have a problem, or if I am pondering something, my wife always asks me, “have you prayed about it?” This is quite annoying, as often I find I have not prayed about it, and I am the one who is ordained. The opening of the first reading today starts ‘I prayed, and understanding was given to me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.’
And yet, how often do we try to do things by ourselves? How often do we actually recognise that we may have been given free will and the ability to think things through, but we just go ahead and try to work things out by ourselves? Taking that time to pray, touching base with our Creator, can help us to gain a better understanding of whatever it is that is troubling us, whatever the issue is and allows us to think more clearly.
This has to be allied to reading Holy Scriptures; the word of God. The letter to the Hebrews reminds us today, that ‘the word of God is something which is alive and active’. It goes on to tell us that the word of God can reach every part of us; physically, mentally and spiritually. By reading the word of God or by listening to the word of God, we can achieve a more intimate relationship with him, we can then allow ourselves to meditate on what we have heard or read. Let it reach every part of us; let it touch us, let it heal us, let it change us.
In St Mark’s Gospel today, Jesus is asking the wealthy young man to change. The young man obeyed all the laws from birth, he had obviously had a good upbringing, been taught well and led a privileged life. But the thought of selling all he owned to give the proceeds to the poor upset him so much that he walked away from Jesus. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes St John Chrysostom ‘Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs’ (CCC 2446). The call of the Gospel is to give up what we own in plenty to share with those who are in need.
There is a great concern for the poor in our country at the moment. The loss of the temporary uplift in Universal credit, the removal of support for jobs, increased prices of food and energy are causing great distress to many people, some of whom may be sitting beside you. Do we see our neighbour in distress? Do we look out for each other?
Jesus is calling on us to change our attitude to material wealth. Wealth may give people status, a large home, nice car, a comfortable bed to sleep in at night. But what good does that do if there are people sleeping on the streets, cold wet and hungry? Wealth tends either to be inherited or earned through hard work and endeavour.
Whichever of these are the case; they result from gifts from God, either in which family one is born into, or the knowledge, skills and work ethic we may have; these are all gifts from God. Maybe this Gospel can prompt us to review what we spend our money on? How much of what we spend is focused on our own pleasures and how much we use to help others?
This week, when we pray, read the word of God and think about what we have read; may the word of God touch us in a way which fills us with His grace; may we be given the wisdom to look out for those we can help; may we be given the will to help them and may we help them in a way that leads them and us to our heavenly home. Amen.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)1
CCC 101-104: Christ, unique Word of Scripture
CCC 131-133: Scripture in life of the Church
CCC 2653-2654: Scripture as a fountain of prayer
CCC 1723, 2536, 2444-2447: poverty of heart
Please keep in your prayers
- Those who are worried about whether to feed their families or heat their homes, may God help them in their hour of need.
- God’s creation, that mankind will become better stewards of this world which has been entrusted to us by God.
- Those who are sick, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
- All those seeking a place of safety, that they will be welcomed in Jesus’ name.
- The Year of the Eucharist, which has now started, that this will lead to a fresh outpouring of love by the people of God for the Body and Blood of Christ.
- The Metanoia programme, which continues on Monday (11th), for a Spirit led programme and all those attending.
- A renewed love of praying the Rosary as we are now in the month dedicated to the Rosary.
- Those being baptised this weekend and the families starting the Baptism Preparation Course this Sunday (10th).
- The success of the RCIA programme which continues next Wednesday (13th).