Homily Ė 28th Sunday(Year B)

Priests often see people at some of the toughest times of their lives. The amazing thing is that they are so open to what you have to say. Often times they will try anything to get their lives back on track and stop the pain. We do our best but, I must admit sometimes it is tough because by the time they reach us the problems have been going on for quite a while. If only they would have come to us sooner. Often times the right choices in the beginning can avoid the major problems later. Often times people arenít willing to listen to spiritual guidance until they are in a crisis. The smart person avoids this. They begin properly by putting first things first and setting the right goals. Our readings today speak of this.
In the first reading we see a person who chooses correctly. They choose the things of God over the things of this earth. The speaker pleads for prudence and the wisdom of God. The speaker prefers them to power (scepter and throne), to the riches of this earth because all these things are as nothing (mire or slime) compared to the things of God. The splendor of Godís wisdom is eternal and not passing away like things of this earth. The speaker understands that we are made for God and only God can satisfy our deepest longings. The things of this earth cannot.
The truth is that all the created things of this earth are not bad, they were created good. Power, riches, knowledge, possessions are not in and of themselves bad. They are created to be tools that help us to get to heaven. God put everything in front of us in order to lead us back to the one true thing that can satisfy our hearts. All of the things of this earth, are tools that should lead us to our goal which is God. Life with God in eternity is what we were created for and the only thing that can satisfy us. Everything else is mire in comparison.
Many people become confused about the proper order. For them, what are supposed to be tools for us to use, actually become the goals that they seek. In the end the goals we seek are what we get. We cannot expect to reach heaven and happiness unless it is our goal and everything else is a tool to get there. If we become too attached to material things and they distract us from the things of God then we have chosen the material as our goal and not God. This is the choice put before the rich young man in the Gospel today.
What must I do to gain eternal life? Jesus tells him to follow the commandments. The man says he has done this but still something seems to be missing in his life. There is a very important point here. You can live a life doing everything your supposed to: coming to church on Sundays, going to confession, giving to the poor, and you can still feel something is missing. How can this be? How can a person live a good life and still feel something is missing. Simply stated, it is because God doesnít call you to have a good life, he calls you to have an extraordinary life. You can choose to answer that call, or, like the rich young man, you can walk away sad.
At the heart of it all is the call of Christ. In Latin the verb is vocare which is where we get the word vocation. Everyone of us has a vocation, a call from Christ. Whether or not we answer that call and follow it, determines whether or not we walk away sad or we live a life of perfection. It is the difference between and ordinary life and an extraordinary one. It all depends on how you answer the call. The call is the goal. If you allow material things to become your goal and keep you from answering that call then life becomes messy.
How do we know our call? Thatís easy, you do whatever you want right? No. Like the rich young man, you need to ask God what is your call. He did this part right. He went to the Lord and fell on his knees and asked Jesus what he should do. That is where we must begin. If you decide your own course in life, and you do not consult God, you should not ever wonder why things didnít work out. Itís funny how people often times only call on God when they are in trouble instead of asking him how to avoid it in the first place.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God then all these things will be added unto you. Do not seek the things. Seek God. Ask God what he wants you to do with your life.
Wait a minute Fr. Todd. I have been married 35 years. I know what my call is, or wait a minute Fr. Todd, I really want to get married so I know what my call is. It is what I want to do. Maybe, maybe not. If your so confident you should not be afraid to ask or to hear the answer. Are you afraid to listen? Everyone of us must sit down and ask God what he is calling us to. Then, we must listen.
Godís call is not once in our lives. It is every day, in everything we do. Every day we must ask how Christ wants us to live our lives. I should be able to walk up to anyone of you and ask you what your vocation is, what does that mean, and how you are living it today. It should be an easy question to answer. If it is not then I would suggest to you that it might be worth your while to do some asking and some listening. If your Goal is to go to heaven then you better ask how you can get there. You also better ask what must I do to inherit eternal life? You also better listen for the answer? Then finally, follow the Lordís advice.
God wants you to be happy. He created you for it. He would not ask you anything that was not good for you. He would not ask anything of you that would not make you happy. He calls you to happiness.
If things of this world get in the way then they should be abandoned. If things are keeping you from prayer, from asking the Lord and listening to the answer you should get rid of them. If you do not have time to pray regularly and listen then, what are supposed to be your tools have become your goals. Is Sunday the only time you worship God? Do you have a regular prayer time? Is the only time you pray when you want something? When is the last time you asked God what he wanted of you? When is the last time you said thank you or is it just gimme gimme? How often do you listen when you pray or is it a one sided conversation? Do you now what Christ is calling you to today? You too will walk away sad if you walk away from Christís call.
Do not let a good life keep you from a great one. Sit down with Christ and ask him what he wants and then be quiet and listen.
Young people this is especially important for you. This is the story of the rich young man. As you decide what you are going to do with your lives I hope you consider checking with an all powerful, all knowing God who wants you to be happy. Every one is asked what do you want to be when you grow up. There is only one good answer to this question. I want to be whatever God wants me to be. You can not know that unless you ask. Are you Young Men afraid that if you ask God might want you to be a priest or a religious brother? Ladies, that he might ask you to be a religious sister? Are you truly afraid to be happy or do you just think God would not know the answer. Do you really think God would ask you to do something that would make you miserable? Be not afraid. Trust in God. Ask him what you should do with your life. Listen for the answer then trust him to tell you the truth.
If people around you are telling you they think you should consider priesthood or religious life then listen to them and check it out. Parents and adults you should ask God who he thinks would be a good priest or religious and tell them if you think they should consider a religious vocation. Or tell me and I will ask them. I am not afraid to tell them how great it is to answer Godís call. I know what a great life it is to follow Godís call and serve you as a priest. It is a truly wonderful life. I never would have believed it or even considered it unless I had actually asked God what he wanted me to do with my life. If you arenít willing to speak out and challenge young people to follow Godís call who will help you with the tragedies in your life? Who will bring you the sacraments? The job of seeking vocations to priesthood and religious life belongs to all of us.
Godís call is for all of us. Not just priests and religious. All of us have a call from God and we have a call every day. We need to put God first. The things of this world should not be our goals, they should be our tools to reaching our Goal of life with God. You have a good possibility of reaching the goals you set but you have no possibility of reaching the goals you do not set. Do not let the good things of this world come between you and the Great things God has planned for you. Sit down and put God first in your life. Ask him what he wants of you every day of your life. Listen for the answer. Accept his call. Christ clearly tells us there is no one who has given up the things of this life for his sake or for the sake of the Gospel who will not have a hundred times more in this age and eternal life in the age to come. You can choose to believe Christ or you can choose to think he is a liar. Ask Christ. Be not afraid of the answer. God always keeps his promises.

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2 Responses to “”

  1. Mark Zanghetti Says:

    Fr. Todd,
    I want to respond to God’s call but don’t know what it is! I am a 44 year old who has gone thru a failed marriage. I know that God is calling me to something more but don’t know what that could be. I applied to the seminary in NY when I was younger(28) and was rejected. I used that as an excuse to wander in and out of the church over the years and now am not sure exactly what God is calling me to do. Any ideas or sugestions? The funniest part of this is that I sometimes still have the desire to be a priest! Anyhow, your words here have stirred something in me and I don’t know how to respond. Or even if I should.

    God Bless You and Keep You,

    Mark

  2. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    Well I would have to suggest you talk with your local priest or spiritual director. I think if you work with a priest and spritual director on this topic it would be helpful. You can put the question before God, Listen, and discuss what your prayer life is with the spiritual director.

    Then move in that direction. If, after you have done the above, you think God is calling you to the priesthood and your spiritual director/priest agrees then I would pursue it with your diocese or a religious order.

    Hope that helped a bit. I think the first step needs to be directed prayer.

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