28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: Green.
First Reading: Wisdom 7:7-11
I esteemed Wisdom more than sceptres or thrones
I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones;
compared with her, I held riches as nothing.
I reckoned no priceless stone to be her peer,
for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand,
and beside her silver ranks as mud.
I loved her more than health or beauty,
preferred her to the light,
since her radiance never sleeps.
In her company all good things came to me,
at her hands riches not to be numbered.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 89(90):12-17
Fill us with your love so that we may rejoice.
Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever? Show pity to your servants.
In the morning, fill us with your love; we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Give us joy to balance our affliction for the years when we knew misfortune.
Show forth your work to your servants; let your glory shine on their children.
Let the favour of the Lord be upon us: give success to the work of our hands.
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:12-13
The word of God cuts more finely than a double-edged sword
The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children.
How happy are the poor in spirit:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Gospel: Mark 10:17-30
Give everything you own to the poor, and follow me
Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.’ Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.
Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, ‘My children,’ he said to them ‘how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were more astonished than ever. ‘In that case’ they said to one another ‘who can be saved?’ Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he said ‘it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.’
Peter took this up. ‘What about us?’ he asked him. ‘We have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.’
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
Instead, the new blesseds raised to the glory of the altars today, promptly and enthusiastically accepted Christ’s invitation: "Come, follow me!" and they followed him to the end. Thus the power of God’s grace is revealed in them, and in their earthly life they even succeeded in doing what seemed humanly impossible. Having placed all their trust in God, everything became possible for them. That is why I am pleased to present them today as examples of faithfully following Christ. They are: Elías del Socorro Nieves, martyr, a professed priest of the Order of St Augustine; Giovanni Battista Piamarta, a priest of the Diocese of Brescia; Domenico Lentini, a priest of the Diocese of Tursi-Lagonegro; Mary of Jesus, in the world, Emilie d’Hooghvorst, foundress of the Society of the Sisters of Mary Reparatrix; Maria Teresa Fasce, a professed nun of the Order of St Augustine.
"Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone" (Mark 10:18). Each one of these new blesseds heard Christ’s essential definition and understood where to seek the original source of holiness. God is the fullness of good that is self-diffusive. "Bonum est diffusivum sui" (St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., I, 9.5, a.4. ad 2). The supreme Good wants to give himself and to make all who seek him with a sincere heart resemble him. He desires to sanctify everyone who is prepared to leave everything to follow his Incarnate Son.
The primary aim of this celebration is therefore to praise God, source of all holiness. We glorify the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, because the new blesseds, baptized in the name of the Blessed Trinity, collaborated with God’s grace with persevering heroism. Fully participating in divine life, they now contemplate the glory of the Lord, face to face, enjoying the fruits of blessedness proclaimed by Jesus in the "Sermon on the Mount": "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). Yes, the kingdom of heaven belongs to these faithful servants of God, who followed Christ to the end, fixing their gaze on him. With their lives they witnessed to him who died on the Cross and was raised for them and for all people.
The whole Church, mother of saints and blesseds, the great spiritual family of mankind called to participate in divine life rejoices.
Together with Mary, Mother of Christ and Queen of saints, together with the new blesseds, let us proclaim God’s holiness: "Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest".
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 12 October 1997)
Together with the new blesseds, let us now turn our minds to the Blessed Virgin, Queen of all saints. Devotion to Mary shines out eloquently in these brothers and sisters, raised to the glory of the altars. They loved and venerated Our Lady with childlike affection. They turned to her throughout their lives, and especially in times of difficulty and trial, entrusting themselves and their activities to her motherly hands and heart.
May the Blessed Virgin, who in this month of October we honour in a special way with the recitation of the Rosary, help us respond readily and faithfully to the vocation God addresses to each one of us, according to the diversity of gifts and charisms.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 12 October 1997)
We Pastors, by virtue of the munus docendi, are called to be qualified preachers of this Word. "He who hears you hears me" (Luke 10: 16). An exhilarating task, but also a great responsibility! We have been entrusted with a living word: we must therefore proclaim it by our lives even before with our lips. It is a word that coincides with the person of Christ himself, the "Word made flesh" (John 1: 14): it is therefore the face of Christ that we must show men; his Cross that we must proclaim, doing so as vigorously as Paul: "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2: 2).
The Bishop, a successor of the Apostles, is someone for whom Christ is everything: "For to me to live is Christ..." (Philippians 1: 21). He must bear witness to this in all his actions. The Second Vatican Council teaches: "Bishops should devote themselves to their apostolic office as witnesses of Christ to all men" (Decree Christus Dominus, n. 11).
In speaking of the Bishops as witnesses, I cannot fail to recall at this solemn Jubilee celebration the many Bishops who, in the course of two millennia, have borne the supreme witness to Christ of martyrdom, following the apostolic model and making the Church fruitful by the shedding of their blood.
In a particular way, the 20th century has been richly blessed with such witnesses, some of whom I have had the joy of raising to the honours of the altar. A week ago, I enrolled among the saints four Bishops, martyrs in China: Gregory Grassi, Anthony Fantosati, Francis Fogolla and Louis Versiglia. Among the blesseds, we venerate Michal Kozal, Antoni Julian Nowowiejski, Leon Wetmanski and Wladyslaw Goral, who died in Nazi concentration camps. In addition to them are Diego Ventaja Milán, Manuel Medina Olmos, Anselmo Polanco and Florentino Asensio Barroso, killed during the Spanish Civil War. And in Eastern Europe the blessed martyrs Vilmos Apor, a Hungarian, Vincent Eugene Bossilkov, a Bulgarian, and Alojzije Stepinac, a Croatian, blossomed in the long winter of communist totalitarianism.
At the same time, it is beautiful and only right to thank God for all the wise and generous Pastors who, down the centuries, have brought honour to the Church by their teaching and example. How many holy and blessed confessors there are among the Bishops! I am thinking, for example, of shining figures such as Charles Borromeo and Francis de Sales; I am also thinking of Popes Pius IX and John XXIII, whom I recently had the joy of proclaiming blessed.
Dear Brothers, "surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12: 1), let us renew our response to the gift of God received with episcopal ordination. "Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus" (Hebrews 12: 1-2), the Shepherd of shepherds.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 8 October 2000)
In contrast to this immediately comes the thought of the "rich young man" of whom the Gospel, just proclaimed, speaks. This youth has remained anonymous; if he had responded positively to the invitation of Jesus, he would have become his disciple and probably the Evangelist would have recorded his name.
From this fact one can immediately glimpse the theme of this Sunday's Liturgy of the Word: if man puts his trust in the riches of this world, he will not reach the full sense of life and of true joy.
If instead, trusting the Word of God, he renounces himself and his goods for the Kingdom of Heaven, apparently losing much, he in reality gains all.
The Saint is exactly that man, that woman, who, responding with joy and generosity to Christ's call, leaves everything to follow him. Like Peter and the other Apostles, as St Teresa of Jesus today reminds us as well as countless other friends of God, the new Saints have also run this demanding yet fulfilling Gospel itinerary and have already received "a hundred fold" in this life, together with trials and persecutions, and then eternal life.
Jesus, therefore, can truly guarantee a happy existence and eternal life, but by a route different from what the rich young man imagines: that is, not through a good work, a legal tribute, but rather in the choice of the Kingdom of God as the "precious pearl" for which it is worth selling all that one possesses (cf. Matthew 13: 45-46).
The rich youth is not able to take this step. Notwithstanding that he has been the object of the loving gaze of Jesus (cf. Mark 10: 21), his heart is not able to detach itself from the many goods that he possessed.
Thus comes the teaching for the disciples: "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God!" (Mark 10: 23).
Earthly riches occupy and preoccupy the mind and the heart. Jesus does not say they are bad, but that they distance one from God if they are not, so to speak, "invested" for the Kingdom of Heaven, spent, that is, to come to the help of those who are poor.
Understanding this is the fruit of that wisdom of which the First Reading speaks. As we were told, she is more precious than silver or gold, and more beautiful, healthy and full of light, "because her radiance never ceases" (Wisdom 7: 10).
Obviously, this wisdom cannot be reduced merely to an intellectual dimension. It is much more; it is "the Wisdom of the heart", as it is called in Psalm 89. It is a gift from on high (cf. James 3: 17), from God, and is obtained by prayer (cf. Wisdom 7: 7).
In fact, it has not remained distant from man; it has come close to his heart (cf. Deuteronomy 30: 14), taking form in the law of the First Covenant between God and Israel through Moses.
The Wisdom of God is contained in the Decalogue. This is why Jesus affirms in the Gospel that to "enter into life" it is necessary to observe the commandments (cf. Mark 10: 19). It is necessary, but not sufficient!
In fact, as St Paul says, salvation does not come from the law, but from Grace. And St John recalls that the law was given by Moses, while Grace and Truth come by means of Jesus Christ (cf. John 1: 17).
To reach salvation one must therefore be open in faith to the grace of Christ, who, however, when addressed, places a demanding condition: "Come, follow me" (Mark 10: 21).
The Saints have had the humility and the courage to respond "yes", and they have renounced all to be his friends.
The four new Saints who we particularly venerate today have done likewise. In them we find the experience of Peter actualized: "Lo, we have left everything and followed you" (Mark 10: 28). Their only treasure is in heaven: it is God.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 15 October 2006)
I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present today, especially those who have come for the canonization of Mother Théodore Guérin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The Church rejoices in the four new Saints raised to the altars today. May their example inspire us and their prayers obtain for us guidance and courage. Invoking God's abundant Blessings upon you, I wish you all a pleasant Sunday!
Turning now to the Virgin Mary, let us thank her for her motherly presence in the lives of the new Saints, and ask for her intercession so that every believer responds with joy and generous commitment to the call that God extends to him or her to be a sign of his holiness.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 15 October 2006)
"What must I do to inherit eternal life?". The brief conversation we heard in the Gospel passage, between a man identified elsewhere as the rich young man and Jesus, begins with this question (cf. Mark 10: 17-30). We do not have many details about this anonymous figure; yet from a few characteristics we succeed in perceiving his sincere desire to attain eternal life by leading an honest and virtuous earthly existence. In fact he knows the commandments and has observed them faithfully from his youth. Yet, all this which is of course important is not enough. Jesus says he lacks one thing, but it is something essential. Then, seeing him well disposed, the divine Teacher looks at him lovingly and suggests to him a leap in quality; he calls the young man to heroism in holiness, he asks him to abandon everything to follow him: "go, sell what you have, and give to the poor... and come, follow me" (v. 21).
"Come, follow me". This is the Christian vocation which is born from the Lord's proposal of love and can only be fulfilled in our loving response. Jesus invites his disciples to give their lives completely, without calculation or personal interest, with unreserved trust in God. Saints accept this demanding invitation and set out with humble docility in the following of the Crucified and Risen Christ. Their perfection, in the logic of faith sometimes humanly incomprehensible consists in no longer putting themselves at the centre but in choosing to go against the tide, living in line with the Gospel. This is what the five Saints did who are held up today with great joy for the veneration of the universal Church: Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, Francisco Coll y Guitart, Jozef Damien de Veuster, Rafael Arnáiz Barón and Mary of the Cross (Jeanne Jugan). In them we contemplate the Apostle Peter's words fulfilled: "Lo, we have left everything and followed you" (v. 28), and Jesus' comforting reassurance: "there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time... with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life" (vv. 29-30).
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 11 October 2009)
I extend cordial greetings to all the English-speaking pilgrims here this Sunday, especially those who have come to Rome in such great numbers for today's canonization. May these new saints accompany you with their prayers and inspire you by the example of their holy lives. I also greet the group of survivors of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I pray that the world may never again witness such mass destruction of innocent human life. May God bless all of you, as well as your families and loved ones at home.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Virgin Mary is the Star that guides every journey of holiness. Her "Fiat" is a model of perfect adherence to the divine will and her "Magnificat" expresses the song of exultation of the Church, which already on this earth rejoices in the great works of God and in Heaven eternally praises his glory.
Let us turn with filial trust to the Mother of Christ, invoking peace and salvation through her intercession and that of the new Saints.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 11 October 2009)
The main theme of this Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 10:17-30) is wealth. Jesus teaches that it is very difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, but not impossible; in fact, God can win over the heart of a person who has great possessions and spur him or her to solidarity and sharing with the needy, with the poor, to entering, that is, the logic of giving. In this way he places himself on the path of Jesus Christ who, as the Apostle Paul writes — “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
As often happens in the Gospel, it all started with a meeting: that of Jesus with someone who “had great possessions” (Mark 10:22). He was a person who had faithfully observed from his youth all the commandments of God’s Law, but had not yet found true happiness; and this is why he asks Jesus what he should do “to inherit eternal life” (v. 17). On the one hand he is attracted, as everyone is, by the fullness of life; on the other, being used to relying on his wealth, he thinks that eternal life can in some way “be purchased”, perhaps even by observing a special commandment.
Jesus, however, understands the deep desire that exists in this person and, the Evangelist notes, turns a loving gaze on him: the gaze of God (cf. v. 21). However, Jesus also realizes what the weak point of that man is: his very attachment to his many possessions; and so he proposes that the man give it all to the poor in order that his treasure — and hence his heart — will no longer be on earth but in heaven, and he adds: “Come, follow me” (v. 21). But, instead of accepting Jesus’ invitation joyfully, the man went away sorrowfully (cf. v. 22) because he can not break away from his riches, that will never give him happiness and eternal life.
It is at this point that Jesus gives his disciples — and us too today — his teaching: “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (v. 23). The disciples were dismayed at his words; and especially after Jesus added: “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. However, seeing the astonished, he said: “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God” (cf. vv. 24-27).
St Clement of Alexandria commented: “Let [the parable] teach the prosperous that they are not to neglect their own salvation, as if they had been already foredoomed, nor, on the other hand, to cast wealth into the sea, or condemn it as a traitor and an enemy to life, but learn in what way and how to use wealth and obtain life” (Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved, 27, 1-2).
The history of the Church is full of examples of rich people who used their possessions in an evangelical way, even attaining holiness. Let us only think of St Francis, St Elizabeth of Hungary or St Charles Borromeo. May the Virgin Mary, Seat of Wisdom, help us to accept Jesus’ invitation joyfully, in order to enter the fullness of life.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 14 October 2012)
Today’s Gospel, taken from Mark, Chapter 10, is divided into three scenes, punctuated by three gazes of Jesus.
The first scene presents the encounter between the Teacher and a fellow who — according to the parallel passage of Matthew — is identified as a “young man”. The encounter of Jesus with a young man. This man runs up to Jesus, kneels and calls him “Good Teacher”. Then he asks: “what must I do to inherit eternal life”, in other words, happiness (v. 17). “Eternal life” is not only the afterlife, but is a full life, fulfilled, without limitations. What must we do to achieve it? Jesus’ answer restates the commandments that refer to loving one’s neighbours. In this regard the young man has nothing to reproach; but clearly, observing the precepts is not enough. It does not satisfy his desire for fulfillment. Jesus perceives this desire that the young man bears in his heart; for this reason his response is expressed in an intense gaze filled with tenderness and love. The Gospel thus says: “[Jesus] looking upon him loved him” (v. 21). He realized he was a good young man.... But Jesus also understood his interlocutor’s weakness, and offers him a practical proposal: to give all his possessions to the poor and follow Him. That young man’s heart, however, was divided between two masters: God and money, and he went away sorrowful. This shows that faith and attachment to riches cannot coexist. Thus, in the end, the young man’s initial enthusiasm is dampened in the unhappiness of a sunken sequela.
In the second scene the Evangelist frames the eyes of Jesus, and this time it is a pensive gaze, one of caution: “[Jesus] looked around and said to his disciples: ‘How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’” (v. 23). To the astonishment of the disciples, who ask him: “Then who can be saved?” (v. 26), Jesus responds with a encouraging gaze — it is the third gaze — and says: salvation, yes, “with men it is impossible, but not with God!” (v. 27). If we trust in the Lord, we can overcome all obstacles that impede us from following him on the path of faith. Trust in the Lord. He will give us strength, he gives us salvation, he accompanies us on the way.
And thus we arrive at the third scene, that of Jesus’ solemn declaration: Truly, I say to you those who leave all to follow me shall have eternal life in the age to come and a hundredfold now in this time (cf. vv. 29-30). This “hundredfold” is comprised of things first possessed and then left, but which shall be restored and multiplied ad infinitum. In divesting oneself of possessions, one receives in exchange the comfort of true good; freed from the slavery of things, one earns the freedom of serving out of love; in renouncing possessions, one acquires the joy of giving. As Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (cf. Acts 20:35).
The young man did not allow himself to be conquered by Jesus’ loving gaze, and thus was not able to change. Only by accepting with humble gratitude the love of the Lord do we free ourselves from the seduction of idols and the blindness of our illusions. Money, pleasure, success dazzle but then disappoint: they promise life but procure death. The Lord asks us to detach ourselves from these false riches in order to enter into true life, the full, authentic, luminous life. I ask you, young people, young men and young women, who are here now in the Square: “Have you felt Jesus’ gaze upon you? Do you prefer to leave this Square with the joy that Jesus gives us or with the sadness of heart that worldliness offers us?”.
May the Virgin Mary help us to open our heart to Jesus’ love, to Jesus’ gaze, the only One who can satiate our thirst for happiness.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 11 October 2015)
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Compiled on 14 October 2018