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28th Sunday of Year B

OUR SUNDAY VISITOR
OUR SUNDAY VISITOR

Key Points to the Readings

FIRST READING

Wisdom 7:7-11

Prudence was given to me

  • The first reading stresses the value of seeking wisdom above all else.
  • Wisdom is greater than all good things.
  • The possession of wisdom leads to a good life.
SOURCES: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor.  The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000 which may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.

SECOND READING

Hebrews 4:12-13

God’s word is living

  • A hint of caution is expressed in the reading from Hebrews.
  • God’s word reveals the truth to our hearts.
  • It is up to us to turn to the word of God for guidance and insight.
SOURCES: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor.  The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000 which may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.

GOSPEL

Mark 10:17-30

Come, follow me

  • In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus meets a rich young man who wishes to share in everlasting life.
  • The young man’s attachment to his possessions prevents him from acquiring the riches of God’s kingdom.
  • Only God can give human beings the ability to let go of everything for the sake of God’s kingdom.
SOURCES: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor.  The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000 which may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.

DR. KIERAN J. O’MAHONY, OSA


HEARERS OF THE WORD – Video commentary presented by Kieran J. O’Mahony, OSA. — Download PDF

DR. BRANT PITRE
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SUNDAY COMMENTARY (PDF)

SOURCE: Bible study program at St. Charles Borromeo (Picayune, MS) courtesy of Military Archdiocese.
Niell Donavan

Sermon Writer

FIRST READING

NO COMMENTARY AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

SECOND READING

HEBREWS 4:12-13.  THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND ACTIVE

GOSPEL

MARK 10:17-22. WHAT SHALL I DO THAT I MAY INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE?

MARK 10:23-27. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD

MARK 10:28-31. LOOK, WE HAVE LEFT EVERYTHING AND FOLLOWED YOU

Richard Niell Donavan, a Disciples of Christ clergyman, published SermonWriter from 1997 until his death in 2020. His wife Dale has graciously kept his website online. A subscription is no longer required.

28th Sunday of Year B

Seeking the Wisdom of God

HIDE/SHOW OVERVIEW

The foundation of our faith is upon the wisdom of the living Word, the Truth of God: the person of Jesus Christ. God concealed nothing from God the Son, giving Him the power to change hearts and minds, as the inspired writer of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us in today’s Second Reading.

In the First Reading, the inspired writer of the Book of Wisdom identifies himself with King Solomon, who petitioned God for wisdom (1 Kng 3:5-145:9-14). But what does it mean to possess the gift of wisdom? It means allowing oneself to be guided by the commands of God and acknowledging His sovereignty over one’s life and all humanity. Wisdom also includes an understanding of the created world and human nature. This kind of knowledge brings one closer to God and makes life happier and more fulfilling. The Church has always taught that there is no disunity between reason and the knowledge of faith. “Faith intervenes not to abolish reason but to bring human reason to understanding that in these events it is the God of Israel who acts” (John Paul II, Fides et ratio, 16).

In the Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist asks God for a heart of wisdom to guide him on his journey through life. He mourns the fact that it has been a long time since the Theophany of God to His people at Mt. Sinai. He asks God how much longer the people will have to wait until He returns in some visible form to His servants. He also petitions the Lord to give the people evidence of His divine works, so the people and their children will know that He did not abandon them. The psalmist ends his prayer by petitioning God’s favor in establishing His works through the hands of His people. Since God chose Israel by divine election to be His holy people and a light to the Gentile nations, the psalmist asks that they might fulfill that mission as partners in God’s plan for salvation history.

On this side of salvation history, we know that God granted the psalmist’s petition for His visible return in the Incarnation and mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus Christ’s works among men climaxed in His death, burial, Resurrection, and Ascension, fulfilling God’s plan to bring salvation to the people of all nations.

In the Second Reading, the inspired writer uses the image of a two-edged sword. He uses it as a metaphor for the ability of God to separate the truth from deception in the hearts of men and women. He warns the first generation of Jewish-Christians that it is impossible to keep anything hidden from God; He exposes all human weaknesses and failures. Jesus, the living and active Word, judges the hearts and minds of believers who seek “rest” in (peace with) God. Jesus said, Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.  And I know that his commandment is eternal life.  So what I say, I say as the Father told me” (Jn 12:48-50). No one can hide their secret thoughts from the Lord, and everyone will have to render a final account when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead.

Like Solomon, in the Gospel Reading, a wealthy young man is seeking what the psalmist calls “wisdom of heart.” He knows that his earthly wealth cannot assure his everlasting salvation, and so he asks Jesus what he must do to find eternal life. First, Jesus tells him to obey the commandments concerning the love of God and neighbor. Then, Jesus invites the young man to give up everything to follow Him, asking the young man to fulfill what Jesus defined as the first and greatest commandment, to love the Lord God above everything else.

The material things of this world are only temporary, but Jesus’s New Covenant blessings are eternal. Scripture consistently teaches that “to obsess on acquiring is to lose, and give is to get.”  As Jesus taught, What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?  Or what can one give in exchange for his Life?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct” (Mt 16:26-27).  The loving invitation Jesus made to the rich young man is the same invitation He makes to us today: to take hold of the gift of Godly wisdom to be willing to give up the world to live fully for Christ and the sake of His Gospel of salvation. It is a decision that takes courage, but it is a decision that has eternity with Christ as its reward.


FIRST READING

AGAPE STUDY

The Riches of Wisdom

7 I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. 8 I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, 9 nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. 10 Beyond health and comeliness, I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. 11 Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.

Young King Solomon

The inspired writer of the Book of Wisdom identifies himself with King Solomon, who has limits like all human beings despite his exalted state. For all humanity, from kings to commoners, physical life is temporal (verses 1-7). Scripture presents the young King Solomon as the epitome of the wise man. He was not born wise, but he humbly petitioned God for wisdom (1 Kng 3:5-145:9-14), and God granted him the spirit of wisdom, which the young Solomon wisely preferred to the trappings of kingship and wealth. The psalmist says that spiritual gifts are superior to material things, using ten comparisons to make that point (verses 8-10).


Possessing Wisdom

But what does the Bible tell us it means to possess wisdom? It means allowing oneself to be guided by the commands of God and acknowledging His sovereignty over one’s life and all humanity. Wisdom also includes an understanding of the created world and human nature. This kind of knowledge leads to the “good things” of verse 11. Therefore, the fullness of the wisdom that brings one closer to God makes life more meaningful and, therefore, more complete. The Church has always taught that there is no disunity between knowledge of reason and knowledge of faith. “Faith intervenes not to abolish reason but to bring human reason to understanding that in these events it is the God of Israel who acts” (John Paul II, Fides et ratio, 16).

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study. Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY

Wisdom of Heart

Response: Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Psalm 90 is the only psalm attributed to Moses (see verse 3 and compare to Gen 2:7). The psalmist acknowledges that life is short; therefore, he asks God for a heart of wisdom to guide the brief span of his days (verse 12). He mourns the fact that it has been a long time since the Theophany of God to His people at Mt. Sinai, and he asks God how much longer the people will have to wait until God returns in some visible form to His servants (verse 13).


The Psalmist’s Petitions

In the meantime, he petitions the Lord to fill His people with His kindness so they will be grateful even for the afflictions of God’s divine judgments against them (verses 14-15). He also asks the Lord to give the people evidence of His works, so the people and their children will know that God is still with them (verse 16). Thus, he has confidence that there are no bad days for those who trust God because all days are good for serving the Lord. Moses ends his prayer by petitioning God’s favor in establishing His works through the hands of His covenant people. God chose Israel by divine election to be His holy people and a light to the Gentiles. The psalmist (Moses) asks that the covenant people be permitted to fulfill that mission as partners in God’s plan for salvation history (verses 17).


God’s Answer

God answered the psalmist/Moses’ petition for a visible return of the Lord and the visible sign of His works in the Incarnation and mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He performed many signs of His divine authority by healing physically and spiritually, forgiving sins, and raising the dead. His works among humanity climaxed in His death, burial, Resurrection, and Ascension, thus fulfilling God’s plan to bring the promise of eternal salvation to humankind.

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.

SECOND READING

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY

The Wisdom of the Living Word

12 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. 13 No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

The inspired writer, believed by many Church Fathers and modern scholars to be St. Paul, uses the metaphor of the two-edged sword to warn the first generation of Jewish-Christians. He reminds them that they can keep nothing hidden from God, who exposes all human weaknesses and failures.  Their ancestors of the first generation of the Exodus fell into sinful rebellion against God. In His judgment against them, they lost their inheritance in the Promised Land, dying in the desert wasteland. The “word of God” (verse 12) is a guide and a hope in the fulfillment of God’s promises to the faithful of the new generation of the New Covenant people. If they remain faithful, they will inherit through Jesus the Son eternal rest and peace with God in the heavenly reality of the true Promised Land.

The words of God in Sacred Scripture provide a tutor and guide for our lives, and the “living Word,” Jesus Christ,  judges the hearts and minds of believers who seek “rest,” peace in their relationship with God. Jesus said, Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.  And I know that his commandment is eternal life.  So what I say, I say as the Father told me” (Jn 12:48-50). No one can hide their secret thoughts from God, and everyone will have to render a final account of how they lived when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead (Mt 25:31-46; Rev 20:11-15; CCC 1038-41). In Sacred Scripture, the Church finds her strength and nourishment to lead humanity to eternal salvation. She embraces it not as human words but as what it truly is, the word of God (1 Thess 2:13), as He comes in love to meet, speak, and guide His children (CCC 101-104)

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study. Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.

GOSPEL

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY

Jesus and the Rich Young Man

The Young Man’s Question

This story appears in the three Synoptic Gospels with only slight variations.  The account in  Matthew 19:20 describes the man in the encounter with Jesus as a “young man” (neaniskos).  After listening to Jesus’s teachings, he feels concerned about his eternal salvation (it is not until verse 22 that we learn he is wealthy). He has everything he needs to enjoy earthly life, but he understands that his wealth cannot buy his place in eternity. The young man runs up to Jesus, kneels in humble submission, and calls Jesus “good teacher.” Then he asks Jesus what “good” he must do to attain eternal life.

Jesus’ First Response

Jesus’s first response to the young man is to answer his question with a question. He asks him, “Why do you call me good?” Then Jesus tells the young man that “no one is good except God alone.” Jesus is saying that every man is a sinner, and He is also subtly asking the young man if he has discerned Jesus’s true identity as the only One who is good because He is without sin.  The irony is that the young man does not realize that he is addressing God.


Jesus’ Second Response

Next, Jesus answers the young man’s question by reminding him that he knows the commandments, meaning the Ten Commandments and the other commands and prohibitions of Mosaic Law (verse 19). Keep in mind that the young man is Jewish, and the Old Covenant is still in effect. The Sinai Covenant will continue until Jesus’s death and Resurrection. At that time, Jesus will have fulfilled the ritual purification laws and the ritual of animal sacrifice, but the moral law will remain. Under the Old Covenant, obedience to the commandments of God was the pathway to life, and the moral law was the work of divine Wisdom (CCC 1950). However, while the Law served as a tutor and a guide, it could not promise eternal salvation nor give the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Old Law was a preparation for the Gospel (see Dt 30:16, 20; Ps 119:155, 166-68; and CCC 1963-64).

Then, in verse 19, Jesus lists six commandments found in the Ten Commandments and the extended teaching on the Law (to defraud was considered theft). These are not all the Ten Commandments, but only some of those commandments dealing with the love of neighbor. A command that is part of the Law in Leviticus 19:18 is to show love to one’s neighbor. Significantly, Jesus has not included the first three commandments concerning the love of God.


The Young Man’s Response

20 He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”

The young man responds that he has lived by those commandments that Jesus listed. In Matthew 19:20, the young man asks what is still lacking in his life, suggesting that he understood there was more than mere obedience to Mosiac Law to please God. His answer must have been sincere because St. Mark tells us: Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking one thing” (verse 21). The young man is earnest, and Jesus sees the spiritual potential for him in service to His Kingdom.

21b Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

Jesus tells the young man to give up every material possession to the poor and follow Him as a disciple, and then he will have “treasure in Heaven” as opposed to earthly rewards. Thus, Jesus is making a distinction between obedience to the commandments that show the path to salvation and earthly blessings under the old Mosaic Law and the call to discipleship that gives an even greater eternal reward that the old is incapable of giving. He is also asking the young man to put the love of God above earthly comfort and ambition (the first three commandments He did not mention).

22 At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

The young man’s response to Jesus’s invitation to discipleship was to walk away sadly. He loves God but not enough to be willing to give up all his material possessions and the rank and comfort it affords him to follow Jesus from place to place and only depending on God to provide for his needs. The young man will still have the path of life by living in obedience to God’s commandments. However, like all the Jews of Jesus’s generation, when Jesus ascends to the Father in Heaven, he will have to choose to receive a greater and more significant portion of blessing only offered through faith in God the Son followed by baptism in His name (Mk 16:16). We do not know what happened to the young man in whom Jesus saw the potential for holiness, but perhaps, later, he dared to give up what was temporal for a greater eternal reward.


What About Us?

Jesus’s invitation to the young man does not mean that He expects all who profess faith in Him to give up all their worldly possessions. Still, we must all be willing to make the sacrifice, and we cannot treasure our earthly possessions more than we treasure our eternal salvation. St. Francis of Assisi was a “rich young man” who said “yes” and gave up his worldly wealth and status to humbly follow Christ.

Jesus Teaches on the Danger of Riches

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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!” 26 They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings, it is impossible, but not for God.  All things are possible for God.”

The Word Camel

The Greek word for “camel” is kamelon, while the word for “rope” is kamilon. Fishermen used camel’s hair to make the ropes (kamilon) that tied the anchors to ships. Jesus’s response may be a play on words in which He is using hyperbole to say that it is easier for the rope called a “camel” to pass through a needle than for a rich man to enter the gates of Heaven. It was a comparison that would have appealed to the Apostles, many of whom were fishermen from Galilee and familiar with ships and their equipment. St. Cyril of Alexandria suggested this was the comparison Jesus was making: “By ‘camel’ here he means not the living thing, the beast of burden, but the thick rope to which sailors tie their anchors.  He shows this comparison to be not entirely pointless (as a camel would be), but he makes it an exceedingly difficult matter; in fact, next to impossible” (Fragment from the Gospel of Matthew, 219).


The Problem with Self-Sufficiency

Scripture tells us that it is hard for the rich to enter the gates of Heaven (i.e., Ez 7:19; Prov 30:8-9; Sir 31:5-7; Mt 5:3). The problem isn’t the wealth, but the self-sufficiency wealth gives a person. The wealthy often do not feel they need God because they believe their wealth affords them the power to handle any crisis they might face. That is why Jesus listed “poverty of spirit” as the first Beatitude (Mt 5:3). The “poor in spirit” humbly open their hearts to God, unlike the “proud in spirit.” Acknowledging we need God is the first step in the spiritual journey to salvation.  See the teaching on the “poor in spirit” in the Beatitudes study.


The Astonishment of the Disciples

26 They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?”  27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings, it is impossible, but not for God.  All things are possible for God.”

Part of the astonishment the disciples felt may have been because, according to the teachings of the Sinai Covenant, having material blessings meant one was blessed by God (Lev 26:3-13; Dt 28:1-14). However, under the new order, the old temporal blessings mean nothing compared to Jesus’s promised eternal blessings. Thus, the significance of Jesus’s response to the disciples in verse 27 is that salvation is a gift of God; it is not something one can work for or purchase (see CCC 276308, and 1058).


The Reward of Personal Sacrifice

28 Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel 30 who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”

Comparing the Apostles and disciples with the rich young man, Peter points out that he and the others have given up everything to follow Jesus. Notice that Peter acts as the spokesman for the group. The Apostles and disciples understand that they have answered to a higher calling and want to know what their sacrifice will mean. Jesus tells Peter in verses 29-30 that God will respond with graces that are far greater than the cost of their sacrifices.

Their sacrifices will give them an inheritance in the everlasting Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the twelve will govern His earthly New Covenant Kingdom that is the Church. They are the “foundation stones” upon which Jesus will build the new Israel, and they will rule from the “new Jerusalem” of the Church’s authority over the earth. They will share in His glory and His royal prerogative as judges when they rule over the twelve tribes of their countrymen and women who they must call into the new age of the Kingdom (see Dan 7:13-14, Rev 21:12-14; CCC 765877). The authority to judge/rule the twelve tribes of Israel may also be part of the Last Judgment. In the Book of Revelation, twenty-four elders sit on thrones surrounding the throne of God. It is difficult to determine from Revelation 4:3-4 the identity of the twenty-four elders. However, many of the Fathers of the Church suggest they are the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel, the physical fathers of the first covenant people, and the twelve Apostles who are the spiritual fathers of the children of Jesus’s New Covenant Kingdom.


What About Us?

Like the rich young ruler, we have received the same call to discipleship and must make the same decision. What are we willing to give up in following our Lord and Savior on our journey through this life to eternity with Him in Heaven?

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study. Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.

28th Sunday of Year B

REGINALD H. FULLER

Preaching the Lectionary

SCRIPTURE IN DEPTH:  The renunciation of wealth is not an end in itself but only a precondition for following Jesus. This particular man has to renounce what was an impediment for him in order to obey the command “Follow me.”

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SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University: This website is a service of the Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University, Matthew Baugh, SJ, Director; John Foley, SJ, Editor; Eleonore Stump, Coordinator; JC McCollum, Webmaster

JOHN KAVANAUGH, SJ

The Sadness of Many Securities

THE WORD EMBODIED: Try as we may to channel our infinite desires into retirement plans, we are haunted by our fragile bones and blood. There is no insurance policy strong enough to prevent death.

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SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University: This website is a service of the Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University, Matthew Baugh, SJ, Director; John Foley, SJ, Editor; Eleonore Stump, Coordinator; JC McCollum, Webmaster

JOHN J. PILCH

Challenge

HISTORICAL CULTURAL CONTEXT: What then does it mean when Mark’s Jesus says, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her?” From the Mediterranean cultural perspective, the shame must reflect upon a male, and the males would be the wife’s father, brothers, or other significant men in her family. Because of the inevitable bloodshed, such a situation must be avoided at all costs.

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SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University: This website is a service of the Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University, Matthew Baugh, SJ, Director; John Foley, SJ, Editor; Eleonore Stump, Coordinator; JC McCollum, Webmaster

DENNIS HAMM, SJ

The Camel and the Needle

LET THE SCRIPTURES SPEAK: Wealthy people could build synagogues, help the needy, sponsor Temple sacrifices. If they could not be saved, who could?

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SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University: This website is a service of the Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University, Matthew Baugh, SJ, Director; John Foley, SJ, Editor; Eleonore Stump, Coordinator; JC McCollum, Webmaster

JOHN FOLEY, SJ

For the Love of God

SPIRITUALITY OF THE READINGS: Our story is about a rich young man.

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SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University: This website is a service of the Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University, Matthew Baugh, SJ, Director; John Foley, SJ, Editor; Eleonore Stump, Coordinator; JC McCollum, Webmaster

ELEONORE STUMP

Inheriting Eternal Life

GLANCING THOUGHTS: If you don’t sell everything you have, are you going to hell?

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SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University: This website is a service of the Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University, Matthew Baugh, SJ, Director; John Foley, SJ, Editor; Eleonore Stump, Coordinator; JC McCollum, Webmaster

GERALD DARRING

Everlasting Love

THE PERSPECTIVE OF JUSTICE: There is more to this story than renunciation of material possessions. Jesus does not tell the man simply to get rid of his possessions: he must sell them and give to the poor.

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SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University: This website is a service of the Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University, Matthew Baugh, SJ, Director; John Foley, SJ, Editor; Eleonore Stump, Coordinator; JC McCollum, Webmaster

JOE MILNER

Ideas for General Intercessions

Ideas designed to be starting points for the prayers of a particular community of faith.

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SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University: This website is a service of the Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University, Matthew Baugh, SJ, Director; John Foley, SJ, Editor; Eleonore Stump, Coordinator; JC McCollum, Webmaster

28th Sunday of Year B

GOSPEL

The Rich Young Man

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SECOND READING

The Word of God

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28th Sunday of Year B

MARK 10:17–27

17. And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

18. And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

19. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

20. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

21. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

23. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

24. And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

25. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?

27. And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible,

ANNOTATED INDEX

Third Century

  • Origen – Alexandrian biblical critic, exegete, theologian, and spiritual writer; analyzed the Scriptures on three levels: the literal, the moral, and the allegorical
  • Cyprian – pagan rhetorician converted to Christianity; acquired acquired a profound knowledge of the Scriptures and the writings of Tertullian; elected bishop of Carthage; martyred in 258

Fourth Century

  • Eusebius – Bishop of Caesarea; author of Ecclesiastical History, the principal source for the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age till his own day; also wrote a valuable work on Biblical topography called the Onomasticon
  • Athanasius – Bishop of Alexandria; attended the Council of Nicea; opposed Arianism, in defence of the faith proclaimed at Nicaea—that is, the true deity of God the Son
  • Hilary – Bishop of Poitiers; the earliest known writer of hymns in the Western Church; defended the cause of orthodoxy against Arianism; became the leading Latin theologian of his age
  • Gregory of Nazianzus – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; a great influence in restoring the Nicene faith and leading to its final establishment at the Council of Constantinople in 381
  • Gregory of Nyssa – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Nyssa; took part in the Council of Constantinople
  • Ambrose – Bishop of Milan; partly responsible for the conversion of Augustine; author of Latin hymns; it was through his influence that hymns became an integral part of the liturgy of the Western Church
  • Jerome – biblical scholar; devoted to a life of asceticism and study; his greatest achievement was his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate); also wrote many biblical commentaries
  • Nemesius – Christian philosopher; Bishop of Emesa in Syria
  • Augustine – Bishop of Hippo (in northern Africa); a “Doctor of the Church”; most famous work is his Confessions; his influence on the course of subsequent theology has been immense
  • Chrysostom – Bishop of Constantinople; a “Doctor of the Church”; a gifted orator; his sermons on Gen, Ps, Isa, Matt, John, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews) established him as the greatest of Christian expositors
  • Prosper of Aquitaine – theologian; supporter of Augustinian doctrines; closely associated with Pope Leo I (“the Great”)
  • Damasus – pope; active in suppressing heresy
  • Apollinaris of Laodicea – Bishop of Laodicea; close friend of Athanasias; vigorous advocate of orthodoxy against the Arians
  • Amphilochius of Iconium – Bishop of Iconium; close friend of the Cappadocian Fathers; defended the full Divinity of the Holy Spirit

Fifth Century

  • Asterius of Amasea – Arian theologian; some extant homilies on the Psalms attributed to him
  • Evagrius Ponticus – spiritual writer; noted preacher at Constantinople; spent the last third of his life living a monastic life in the desert
  • Isidore of Pelusium – an ascetic and exegete; his extant correspondence contains much of doctrinal, exegetical, and moral interest
  • Cyril of Alexandria – Patriarch of Alexandria; contested Nestorius; put into systematic form the classical Greek doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ
  • Maximus of Turin – Bishop of Turin; over 100 of his sermons survive
  • Cassion (prob. Cassian) – one of the great leaders of Eastern Christian monasticism; founded two monasteries near Marseilles; best known books the Institutes and the Conferences
  • Chrysologus – Bishop of Ravenna; a “Doctor of the Church”
  • Basil “the Great” – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Caesarea; responsible for the Arian controversy’s being put to rest at the Council of Constantinople
  • Theodotus of Ancyra – Bishop of Ancyra; wrote against the teaching of Nestorius
  • Leo the Great – Pope who significantly consolidated the influence of the Roman see; a “Doctor of the Church”; his legates defended Christological orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon
  • Gennadius – Patriarch of Constantinople; the author of many commentaries, notably on Genesis, Daniel, and the Pauline Epistles
  • Victor of Antioch – presbyter of Antioch; commentator and collector of earlier exegetical writings
  • Council of Ephesus – declared the teachings of Nestorious heretical, affirming instead the unity between Christ’s human and divine natures
  • Nilus – Bishop of Ancyra; disciple of St John Chrysostom; founder of a monastery; conducted a large correspondence influencing his contemporaries; his writings deal mainly with ascetic and moral subjects

Sixth Century

  • Dionysius Areopagita (aka Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite) – mystical theologian; combined Neoplatonism with Christianity; the aim of all his works is the union of the whole created order with God
  • Gregory the Great – Pope; a “Doctor of the Church”; very prolific writer of works on practical theology, pastoral life, expositions of Job, sermons on the Gospels, etc.
  • Isidore – Bishop of Seville; a “Doctor of the Church”; concerned with monastic discipline, clerical education, liturgical uniformity, conversion of the Jews; helped secure Western acceptance of Filioque clause
  • Eutychius (Patriarch of Constan­tinople) – consecrated the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; defended the Chalcedonian faith against an unorthodox sect; became controversial later in life
  • Isaac (Bp. of Nineveh) (aka Isaac the Syrian) – monastic writer on ascetic subjects
  • Severus (Bp. of Antioch) – Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; the leading theologian of the moderate Monophysites
  • John Climacus – ascetic and writer on the spiritual life; later Abbot of Mt. Sinai; best known for his Ladder of Divine Ascent which treats of the monastic virtues and vices
  • Fulgentius – Bishop of Ruspe in N. Africa; scholarly disposition; follower of St. Augustine; wrote many treatises against Arianism and Pelagianism

Seventh Century

  • Maximus ( of Constantinople, 645.) – Greek theologian; prolific writer on doctrinal, ascetical, exegetical, and liturgical subjects

Eighth Century

  • Bede (131CESK) – “the Venerable Bede”; a “Doctor of the Church”; pedagogue, biblical exegete, hagiographer, and historian, the most influential scholar from Anglo-Saxon England
  • John Damascene – Greek theologian; a “Doctor of the Church”; defender of images in the Iconoclastic Controversy; expounded the doctrine of the perichoresis (circumincession) of the Persons of the Trinity
  • Alcuin – Abbot of St. Martin’s (Tours); a major contributor to the Carolingian Renaissance; supervised the production of several complete editions of the Bible; responsible for full acceptance of the Vulgate in the West

Ninth Century

  • Haymo (of Halberstadt) – German Benedictine monk who became bishop of Halberstadt; prolific writer
  • Photius (of Constantinople) – Patriarch of Constantinople; a scholar of wide interests and encyclopedic knowledge; his most important work, Bibliotheca, is a description of several hundred books (many now lost), with analyses and extracts; also wrote a Lexicon
  • Rabanus Maurus – Abbot of Fulda in Hess Nassau; later Archbishop of Mainz; wrote commentaries on nearly every Book of the Bible
  • Remigius (of Auxerre) monk, scholar, and teacher
  • Paschasius Radbertus – Carolingian theologian; wrote commentaries on Lamentations and Matthew, as well as the first doctrinal monograph on the Eucharist, he maintained the real Presence of Christ

Eleventh Century

  • Theophylact – Byzantine exegete; his principal work, a series of commentaries on several OT books and on the whole of the NT except Revelation, is marked by lucidity of thought and expression and closely follows the scriptural text
  • Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury; a “Doctor of the Church”; highly regarded teacher and spiritual director; famous ontological argument for the existence of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
  • Petrus Alphonsus – Jewish Spanish writer and astronomer, a convert to Christianity; one of the most important figures in anti-Judaic polemics
  • Laufranc (prob. Lanfranc) – Archbishop of Canterbury; commented on the Psalms and Pauline Epistles; his biblical commentary passed into the Glossa Ordinaria

COMMENTARY

BEDE. (ubi sup.) A certain man had heard from the Lord that only they who are willing to be like little children are worthy to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and therefore he desires to have explained to him, not in parables, but openly, by the merits of what works a man may attain everlasting life. Wherefore it is said: And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

THEOPHYLACT. I wonder at this young man, who when all others come to Christ to be healed of their infirmities, begs of Him the possession of everlasting life, notwithstanding his love of money, the malignant passion which afterwards caused his sorrow.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. in Matt. 63) Because however he had come to Christ as he would to a man, and to one of the Jewish doctors, Christ answered him as Man. Wherefore it goes on: And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but the One God. In saying which He does not exclude men from goodness, but from a comparison with the goodness of God.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) But by this one God, who is good, we must not only understand the Father, but also the Son, who says, I am the good Shepherd; (John 10:11) and also the Holy Ghost, because it is said, The Father which is in heaven will give the good Spirit to them that ask him. (Luke 2:15. Vulg.) For the One and Undivided Trinity itself, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is the Only and One good God. The Lord, therefore, does not deny Himself to be good, but implies that He is God; He does not deny that He is good Master, but He declares that no master is good but God.

THEOPHYLACT. Therefore the Lord intended by these words to raise the mind of the young man, so that he might know Him to be God. But He also implies another thing by these words, that when you have to converse with a man, you should not flatter him in your conversation, but look back upon God, the root and fount of goodness, and do honour to Him.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) But observe that the righteousness of the law, when kept in its own time, conferred not only earthly goods, but also eternal life on those who chose it. Wherefore the Lord’s answer to one who enquires concerning everlasting life is, Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill; for this is the childlike blamelessness which is proposed to us, if we would enter the kingdom of heaven. On which there follows, And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. We must not suppose that this man either asked the Lord, with a wish to tempt him, as some have fancied, or lied in his account of his life; but we must believe that he confessed with simplicity how he had lived; which is evident, from what is subjoined, Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him. If however he had been guilty of lying or of dissimulation, by no means would Jesus, after looking on the secrets of his heart, have been said to love him.

ORIGEN. (in Evan. tom. xv. 14) For in that He loved, or kissed himp, He appears to affirm the truth of his profession, in saying that he had fulfilled all those things; for on applying His mind to him, He saw that the man answered with a good conscience.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Cat. in Marc. Oxon.) It is worthy of enquiry, however, how He loved a man, who, He knew, would not follow Him? But this is so much as to say, that since he was worthy of love in the first instance, because he observed the things of the law from his youth, so in the end, though he did not take upon himself perfection, he did not suffer a lessening of his former love. For although he did not pass the bounds of humanity, nor follow the perfection of Christ, still he was not guilty of any sin, since he kept the law according to the capability of a man, and in this mode of keeping it, Christ loved himq.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) For God loves those who keep the commandments of the law, though they be inferior; nevertheless, He shews to those who would be perfect the deficiency of the law, for He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. Wherefore there follows: And said unto him, One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me; (Matt. 5:17) for whosoever would be perfect ought to sell all that he has, not a part, like Ananias and Sapphira, but the whole.

THEOPHYLACT. And when he has sold it, to give it to the poor, not to stage-players and luxurious persons.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) Well too did He say, not eternal life, but treasure, saying, And thou shalt have treasure in heaven; for since the question was concerning wealth, and the renouncing of all things, He shews that He returns more things than He has bidden us leave, in proportion as heaven is greater than earth.

THEOPHYLACT. But because there are many poor who are not humble, but are drunkards or have some other vice, for this reason He says, And come, follow me.

BEDE. (ubi sup) For he follows the Lord, who imitates Him, and walks in His footsteps. It goes on: And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) And the Evangelist adds the cause of his grief, saying, For he had great possessions. The feelings of those who have little and those who have much are not the same, for the increase of acquired wealth lights up a greater flame of covetousness. There follows: And Jesus looked round about, and said unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.

THEOPHYLACT. He says not here, that riches are bad, but that those are bad who only have them to watch them carefully; for He teaches us not to have them, that is, not to keep or preserve them, but to use them in necessary things.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) But the Lord said this to His disciples, who were poor and possessed nothing, in order to teach them not to blush at their poverty, and as it were to make an excuse to them, and give them a reason, why He had not allowed them to possess any thing. It goes on: And the disciples were astonished at his words; for it is plain, since they themselves were poor, that they were anxious for the salvation of others.

BEDE. But there is a great difference between having riches, and loving them; wherefore also Solomon says not, He that hath silver, but, He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied, with silver. (Eccl. 5:10) Therefore the Lord unfolds the words of His former saying to His astonished disciples, as follows: But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard it is for them that trust in their riches to enter the kingdom of God. Where we must observe that He says not, how impossible, but how hard; for what is impossible cannot in any way come to pass, what is difficult can be compassed, though with labour.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) Or else, after saying difficult, He then shews that it is impossible, and that not simply, but with a certain vehemence; and he shews this by an example, saying, It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

THEOPHYLACT. It may be that by camel, we should understand the animal itself, or else that thick cable, which is used for large vessels.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) How then could either in the Gospel, Matthew and Joseph, or in the Old Testament, very many rich persons, enter into the kingdom of God, unless it be that they learned through the inspiration of God either to count their riches as nothing, or to quit them altogether. Or in a higher sense, it is easier for Christ to suffer for those who love Him, than for the lovers of this world to turn to Christ; for under the name of camel, He wished Himself to be understood, because He bore the burden of our weakness; and by the needle, He understands the prickings, that is, the pains of His Passion. By the eye of a needle, therefore, He means the straits of His Passion, by which He, as it were, deigned to mend the torn garments of our nature. It goes on; And they were astonished above measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? Since the number of poor people is immeasurably the greater, and these might be saved, though the rich perished, they must have understood Him to mean that all who love riches, although they cannot obtain them, are reckoned in the number of the rich. It goes on; And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God; which we must not take to mean, that covetous and proud persons can enter into the kingdom of Heaven with their covetousness and pride, but that it is possible with God that they should be converted from covetousness and pride to charity and lowliness.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) And the reason why He says that this is the work of God is, that He may shew that he who is put into this path by God, has much need of grace; from which it is proved, that great is the reward of those rich men, who are willing to follow the 1discipline of Christ.

THEOPHYLACT. Or we must understand that by, with man it is impossible, but not with God, He means, that when we listen to God, it becomes possible, but as long as we keep our human notions, it is impossible. There follows, For all things are possible with God; when He says all things, you must understand, that have a being; which sin has not, for it is a thing without being and substance.r. Or else: sin does not come under the notion of strength, but of weakness, therefore sin, like weakness, is impossible with God. But can God cause that not to have been done which has been done? To which we answer, that God is Truth, but to cause that what has been done should not have been done, is falsehood. How then can truth do what is false? He must first therefore quit His own nature, so that they who speak thus really say, Can God cease to be God? which is absurd.

MARK 10:28–31

28. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

29. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the Gospel’s,

30. But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

31. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

COMMENTARY

GLOSS. (non occ.) Because the youth, on hearing the advice of our Saviour concerning the casting away of his goods, had gone away sorrowful, the disciples of Christ, who had already fulfilled the foregoing precept, began to question Him concerning their reward, thinking that they had done a great thing, since the young man, who had fulfilled the commandments of the law, had not been able to hear it without sadness. Wherefore Peter questions the Lord for himself and the others, in these words, Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

THEOPHYLACT. Although Peter had left but few things, still he calls these his all; for even a few things keep us by the bond of affection, so that he shall be beatified who leaves a few things.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) And because it is not sufficient to have left all, he adds that which makes up perfection, and have followed thee. As if he said, We have done what Thou hast commanded. What reward therefore wilt Thou give us?1 But while Peter asks only concerning the disciples, our Lord makes a general answer; wherefore it goes on: Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands. But in saying this, He does not mean that we should leave our fathers, without helping them, or that we should separate ourselves from our wives; but He instructs us to prefer the glory of God to the things of this world.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. in Matt. 64) But it seems to me that by these words He intended covertly to proclaim that there were to be persecutions, as it would come to pass that many fathers would allure their sons to impiety, and many wives their husbands.1 Again He delays not to say, for my name’s sake and the Gospel’s, as Mark says, or for the kingdom of God, as Luke says; the name of Christ is the power of the Gospel, and of His kingdom; for the Gospel is received in the name of Jesus Christ, and the kingdom is made known, and comes by His name.

BEDE. Some, however, taking occasion from this saying, in which it is announced that he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, teach that Jewish fable of a thousand years after the resurrection of the just, when all that we have left for the Lord’s sake is to be restored with manifold usury, besides which we are to receive the crown of everlasting life. These persons do not perceive, that although the promise in other respects be honourable, yet in the hundred wives, which the other Evangelists mention, its foulness is made manifest: particularly when the Lord testifies that there shall be no marriage in the resurrection, and asserts that those things which are put away from us for His sake are to be received again in this life with persecutions, which, as they affirm, will not take place in their thousand yearss.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Cat. in Marc. Oxon.) This hundredfold reward therefore must be in participation, not in possession, for the Lord fulfilled this to them not carnally, but spiritually.

THEOPHYLACT. For a wife is busied in a house about her husband’s food and raiment. See also how this is the case with the Apostles; for many women busied themselves about their food and their clothing, and ministered unto them. In like manner the Apostles had many fathers and mothers, that is, persons who loved them; as Peter, for instance, leaving one house, had afterwards the houses of all the disciples. And what is more wonderful, they are to be persecuted and oppressed, for it is with persecutions that the Saints are to possess all things, for which reason there follows, But many that are first shall be last, and the last first. For the Pharisees who were first became the last; but those who left all and followed Christ were last in this world through tribulation and persecutions, but shall be first by the hope which is in God.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) This which is here said, shall receive an hundredfold, may be understood in a higher sense1. For the number a hundred which is reckoned by changing from the left to the right hand, although it has the same appearance in the bending of the fingers as the ten had on the left, nevertheless is increased to a much greater quantity. This means, that all who have despised temporal things for the sake of the kingdom of heaven through undoubting faith, taste the joy of the same kingdom in this life which is full of persecutions, and in the expectation of the heavenly country, which is signified by the right hand, have a share in the happiness of all the elect. But because all do not accomplish a virtuous course of life with the same ardour as they began it, it is presently added, But many that are first shall be last, and the last first; for we daily see many persons who, remaining in a lay habit, are eminent for their meritorious life; but others, who from their youth have been ardent in a spiritual profession, at last wither away in the sloth of ease, and with a lazy folly finish in the flesh, what they had begun in the Spirit.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000 Commentary in public domain.

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