Homily for Mass with the Fransican Missionaries of Mary and Queenship of Mary Community

[Readings: Judges 6:11-24; Psalm 85; Matthew 19:23-30]

Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Most people, I suspect, probably feel that those words don’t apply to them.  “We aren’t rich!”  Objectively we probably aren’t rich – although, compared with millions in the world who live in abject poverty, we are extraordinarily rich.

But even if we were the poorest person in the world, Jesus’ words still have something to say to us.  Whatever possessions we have, whatever they might be, we must always be on the guard that they don’t possess us.  Even if we have little by the world’s standards, we can become fixated on protecting and guarding what we have that it will indeed be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for us to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whether it be our money, or our possessions, or our time, or our abilities … all these these things really belong to God … and we are stewards.

In his Rule, St Benedict proposes two reasons for the monk to earn a living by the work of his hands: one reason is, obviously, to provide for the necessities of life.  The other reason is to have something to give to the poor.  The generosity proposed by Jesus is not something we give from our left-overs once we’ve fully satisfied our own concerns.  Rather, the very reason why God allows us to have things is so that we can be generous givers … both of our things and of ourselves, to our brothers and sisters.

Jesus reminds us that the Lord is not outdone in generosity.  The generous giver is in fact repaid a hundredfold in this life – and ultimately, receives eternal life.

Every eucharist we celebrate we participate in the sacrificial offering of Jesus to his Father.  Jesus gave himself completely for our sake … to the point of shedding his blood.

Today let’s reflect on what God has given to each of us … the blessings of our life, our energy, our love, our time, our possessions.  Let’s pray that we will use all of those things in generous service … realizing that God has given them to us precisely for this purpose.  As we unite ourselves with Jesus’ offering, may we become more and more like him, as we give ourselves and all that we have, in loving service.