"All things are possible for God."
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, 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 one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God." Full Liturgy of the Word
St. Mark’s Gospel this weekend tells of an encounter between Jesus and an excited man with many possessions and then gives the famous, if not confusing, teachings about camels and needles, giving up things and getting them back. In August I selected this weekend without knowing it was this Gospel, so I was surprised when a few other things came into my view. First, the Gospel for that day in August was Matthew’s version of this same encounter. Cool, I thought. Then an article on-line by National Catholic Register (NCR) talked about how Catholic education was thriving in Wichita, KS (my home state) because of the stewardship in that diocese. Very cool, I thought!
The next day was the second half of the Gospel (camels and needles). Brilliant! Of course, but still cool. Now that same day I get the issue of “FOCUS,” published by the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC), which is dedicated to “The Issues, The Candidates & Your Vote 2012.” In that issue, the MCC was advocating an expansion of school choice opportunities. Well, guess what I had to write about! Though maybe not in the way you think.
I’ve followed this issue for many years and I am not in favor of a voucher or scholarship program. I see it as Catholics going to the state because we don’t do our duty. Like the rich man in the Gospel we’re excited about doing things, but when it comes to giving away our possessions (10% of them anyway) our faces fall and we go away. The NCR article says that it started because a Wichita parish pastor said that if parishioners gave “at least 5% of their income to the parish, the parish could cover all its obligations, including the elementary school. … He invited parishioners to take ownership for the life of the parish.” They are now at 8% and their 38 schools, including 4 Catholic high schools, have been without tuition since 2002. Wow! Talk about people collaborating with the Holy Spirit!
The impact of the sacrifices from these people cooperating with the Holy Spirit has gone far beyond the schools. Just like with the rich young man, it’s not about the money, that’s secondary. It’s the sacrifice, stewardship, ownership, obedience. It’s the people of the diocese living their faith at a deep level.
Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come." -- Mk 10:29-30
Taking the State’s money would put children in the schools, but not much more, and it doesn’t change us. Following the commands of Jesus will give us a hundred times more now in this present age and, yes, with persecutions and eternal life in the age to come.
This Week's Faith Infusion Contributor, Charles Kincaid
Chuck, Barb, Andrew, Allison and Matthew Kincaid have been members of St. Joseph parish for 16 years. Barb is the Director of Faith Formation and Chuck helps wherever she tells him to. Their three children attended and attend the Battle Creek Catholic schools. Their family believes that to be Catholic our faith should be integrated with all of our life and BCACS is an important part of that.
Do you know somebody who has succeeded to abandon everything for the sake of the Kingdom? What does it mean for us today: “Go, sell all you own, and give the money to the poor”? How can we understand and practice today the counsels that Jesus gives to the young rich man?
A person who lives constantly concerned about their wealth or who lives always wanting to buy all the things the television markets, can that person be free from everything to follow Jesus and live in peace in a Christian community? Is it possible? What do you think? How do you do it personally and as a family and what do you do?
FOR NEXT WEEK...
Jesus summoned the Twelve and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Diocesan Vision for Catholic Schools
The “MORE” Factor: A Mission Ordered towards Reaching Eternal Life
"...Our goal is to equip students with an excellent education and a solid faith formation so each student may know the faith confidently, live the faith in a community where families and teachers work together to advocate for each other’s salvation and Sainthood, and share the faith with relevance and loving courage throughout their lives...” Read more on pg 8 of June issue of The Good News Website coming soon!