Celtic Cross

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Message From The Parish Priest

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My Dear people,

We have come again to the Gospel of the rich young man.

He was a truly a fine young man. However, he knew that there was something missing from his life and with sincerity came to our Lord not to show off but to seek an answer. The question is fundamental for us all - "WHAT MUST I DO TO INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE?" In other words what do I have to do if I want to get to Heaven in the end? Well our Lord tells him that he must keep the Commandments and our Lord begins to summarise them. This summary is a good quick examination of conscience for us for going to Confession I would suggest, for it is from our Lord's very lips.

The question remained unresolved in the rich young man's mind though. He kept all these commandments he tells Jesus. Saint Mark then reveals to us a very significant observation. He tells us that the Lord looked at him steadily and loved him and said : "go - and sell what you have give to the poor and then COME AND FOLLOW ME."

What an invitation. This was the very feeling in his heart and soul which was meant to draw him to a new vocation - to be an Apostle or a Disciple. This would have fulfilled an already very good life. But guess what? He messed it up. He had that one golden opp to respond to this great longing in his heart which would have been perfected in following the Master but his wealth was his obstacle. It was not his downfall. He remained a good lad surely but not the Apostle he was called to be.

Strange isn't it - our human free will? Judas said "YES" and then betrayed the Master and this young man said neither yes nor no but let his face say it. His face - full of expectation and joy in the Divine Presence of Jesus our Lord - fell at the challenge our Lord's invitation held out and he walked away to resume his good life. Surely he is in heaven now for he did keep the commandments and our Lord did look steadily at him and loved him.

When our Lord reflects with the apostles after the young man's refusal about the problems people who have a lot of possessions have in getting to heaven they were dismayed for to them, being rich was a sign of Divine favour. Our Lord reverses this Hebrew Tradition. No - he tells them it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle (one of the smaller gates in the wall of Jerusalem) than for a rich man to get to heaven. So the Christian tradition begins that poverty and simplicity are Godly and good and more likely to get you to heaven than had otherwise been thought. It is still difficult for the really rich isn't it? To be a saint and a millionaire - is very difficult. Riches can drag you down and divert you from the pathway to God and delay your pilgrimage through this world to the kingdom of heaven. You can built your security on money and not on God. Paul Getty wrote a book - The Curse of Riches and showed just how his family had suffered terrible tragedies because of their great wealth. It is difficult but - our Lord says- not impossible. He was born poor and remained poor for our sake and for our salvation.

The saints who were rich like St Edward the Confessor who was King of England used his wealth to build churches and religious houses and hospices to God's honour and glory. St Kentigern was of Royal stock and gave it all up to be a monk. So there we have it. Let not our lack of riches hold us back or our surplus wealth draw us away from God's loving Providence.

God Bless,

Father Tom Connolly

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