28th Sunday, B - Reflection
This was my reflection at Adoration on Friday night:
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear Jesus say to the rich young man, “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then, come follow me” (Mk 10:21). It is a call that Christ gives to the young man and to each one of us. The young man found the call from our Lord very difficult…“his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions”. I have especially identified with the young man in hearing Christ’s Call to the priesthood. It has been a hard one.
I first entered seminary fresh out of college in 1994. The first two years there I felt that Christ was calling me to be a priest. But, I really didn’t want to be a priest. I had had many hopes of being a husband and father my whole life. I wanted a career, the nice house, etc. I guess you could say that I had many possessions that I didn’t want to let go of. So, even though I heard Christ calling me, I walked away from the Call and left the seminary in 1996. I got a job, bought a house, and started dating.
But, during those three years, this Gospel passage “haunted” me. I couldn’t stop thinking about how the man walked away from Christ, and that he was “sad”. I thought, what happens to someone who doesn’t answer God’s Call? What happens to someone who doesn’t live out their vocation? Do they go to Heaven? I kept focusing on the sadness of the man, and realized that it was a Call to happiness that he was walking away from. It was a Call to happiness that I was walking away from in the priesthood. I returned to the seminary, and can honestly say that since I’ve been ordained a priest, I have never known happiness like this before. Any thoughts of not wanting to be a priest are long gone, and I am so grateful to God that I am a priest! It is awesome!
Each one of us is hearing a Call from Christ tonight. Maybe it’s a call to religious life…or marriage…or the single life. For one of us, it is a call to holiness. He is calling us to be more trusting in Him…to be more understanding with our wives…to be more patient with our husbands…to be more prayerful…to be better examples to our young people…to be more generous to the poor…etc. Whatever Christ is calling us to do, it is a Call to happiness. Sure, it is not an easy Call; it probably will be a very difficult Call to answer. But, just like the rich young man, if we don’t answer the Call, we walk away from Christ sad.
Now, some scholars argue that the young man eventually came back to Christ and answered the Call to sell all that he had. If so, he finally found the happiness for which he was searching. His happiness would have been in detachment from worldly things, not attachment to them. Christ calls each one of us to be attached to Him, and Him alone. It is not an easy Call, but it is the best. The Father’s Plan is that way…it is not always the easiest Plan, but it is the best. Fifteen years ago, my plan for happiness never included priesthood. Now, I see that it has been the Father’s Plan all along; it has not been easy to follow His Plan, but it has been the best for me. It is a Plan for happiness, as His Plan always is for each one of us. His Will is not always the easiest, but it is the best for each and every one of us.