28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
October 10, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.









May your grace, O Lord, we pray,
at all times go before us and follow after
and make us always determined
to carry out good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.  

First Reading Wis 7:7-11

I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
and I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
Yet all good things together came to me in her company,
and countless riches at her hands.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R/. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us,
for the years when we saw evil.

Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children;
and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!

Second Reading Heb 4:12-13  

Brothers and sisters:
Indeed the word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Alleluia Mt 5:3

Gospel Mk 10:17-27 

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."

Reflection Questions

  1. For what wisdom and prudence might you be praying for these days?
  2. How is the word of God shedding light on the innermost thoughts of your heart?
  3. Do the gospel’s challenges sadden you in any way?

Catena Nova

If you consider riches and their full enjoyment to be merely a short-lived illusory vanity, if you know that a virtuous life pleasing to God is better than riches, you will hold fast to this conviction and keep it in memory; then you will not sigh, complain or reproach anyone, but will thank God for everything, when you see that people worse than you are praised for eloquence or erudition and wealth. Insatiable desire of riches and pleasures, love of fame and vainglory, coupled with ignorance of truth, are the worst passions of the soul (St. Anthony of Egypt).

You are a jailor of your wealth, not its owner, you who bury your gold in the ground (cf Mt 25,25); you are its slave and not its master. Christ said: “Where your treasure is, there also your heart will be” so it is your heart you have buried. Rather, sell your gold and buy salvation; sell what is metal and acquire God’s Kingdom; sell the field and purchase for yourself, eternal life. In saying this I am speaking the truth because I am relying on the words of Him who is Truth: “If you wish to be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19,21). Do not be cast down by these words lest the same thing be said to you, as to the rich young man: “It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (v.23). Still more, when you read this sentence, consider that death can snatch these possessions away from you, that the aggression of someone powerful can carry them away (St. Ambrose of Milan).

The only true riches are those that make us rich in virtue. Therefore, if you want to be rich, beloved, love true riches. If you aspire to the heights of real honor, strive to reach the kingdom of Heaven. If you value rank and renown, hasten to be enrolled in the heavenly court of the Angels (St. Gregory the Great).

Every evil, harm and suffering in this life comes from the love of riches (St. Catherine of Siena).

Who could count all those who have had wealth, power, honor? But their glory, their riches were only lent to them, and they wore themselves out in preserving and increasing that which they were forced to abandon one day (St. Ignatius of Loyola).

There is a difference between possessing poison and being poisoned. Pharmacists keep almost every kind of poison in stock for use on various occasions, yet they are not themselves poisoned because it is merely in their shops, not in their bodies. So, too, you can possess riches without being poisoned by them if you keep them in your home, purse or wallet, but not in your heart (St. Francis de Sales).

All through our life Christ is calling us. He called us first in baptism, but afterwards also whether we obey his voice or not, he graciously calls us still. If we fall from our baptism, he calls us to repent; if we are striving to fulfil our calling, he calls us on from grace to grace, and from holiness to holiness, while life is given us. Abraham was called from his home, Peter from his nets, Matthew from his office, Elisha from his farm, Nathanael from his retreat; we are all in course of calling, on and on, from one thing to another, having no resting place, but mounting towards our eternal rest, and obeying one command only to have another put upon us. There is nothing miraculous or extraordinary in his dealings with us. He works through our natural faculties and circumstances of life. He calls us again and again, in order to justify us again and again—and again and again, and more and more, to sanctify and glorify us. It were well if we understood this; but we are slow to master the great truth, that Christ is, as it were, walking among us, and by his hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us follow him. We do not understand that his call is a thing which takes place now. We think it took place in the Apostles’ day; but we do not believe in it, we do not look out for it in our own case. We have not eyes to see the Lord; far different from the beloved Apostle, who knew Christ even when the rest of the disciples knew him not. When he stood on the shore after his resurrection, and bade them cast the net into the sea, “that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord.” Now what I mean is this: that they who are living religiously, have from time to time truths they did not know before, or had no need to consider, brought before them forcibly; truths which involve duties, which are in fact precepts, and claim obedience. In this and such-like ways Christ calls us now. There is nothing miraculous or extraordinary in his dealings with us. He works through our natural faculties and circumstances of life. Still what happens to us in providence is in all essential respects what his voice was to those whom he addressed when on earth: whether he commands by a visible presence, or by a voice, or by our consciences, it matters not, so long as we feel it to be a command. If it is a command, it may be obeyed or disobeyed; it may be accepted as Samuel or St. Paul accepted it, or put aside after the manner of the young man who had great possessions. We need not fear spiritual pride in following Christ’s call, if we follow it as people in earnest. Earnestness has no time to compare itself with the state of others; earnestness is simply set on doing God’s will. It simply says, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth; Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Oh that we had more of this spirit! Oh that we could take that simple view of things, as to feel that the one thing which lies before us is to please God! Let us beg and pray him day by day to reveal himself to our souls more fully; to quicken our senses; to give us sight and hearing, taste and touch of the world to come; so to work within us that we may sincerely say, “With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor. Whom else have I in the heavens? None beside you delights me on earth. Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever” (St. John Henry Newman).


The Price is Right

            On a recent doctor's visit I was screened for various maladies with one question being, “Are you depressed?”  To which I responded, “I would be more worried about someone who wasn’t!”  Indeed, the pandemic has only served to increase the incidence of depression among all age groups with men and women afflicted alike.  A recent study of adults found that  42% of people reported experiencing some mild psychological distress during the pandemic last year while 10% of participants had some moderate-to-severe anxiety or depression.  Another study found even higher levels of anxiety or depression among young adults.  One clinician involved in the first study noted that depression involves sadness that does not shift once a triggering event or situation has passed. Well, the pandemic is still with us, ergo....  And it’s nothing to joke about.

            The pandemic, among other triggering factors for depression, is perhaps most clearly related to unwelcome changes in life patterns.  No kidding! And that might also have been responsible for a case of depression we find in today’s gospel: the rich man who went away sad after his encounter with Jesus: the man in whom Jesus’ words provoked a painful mind for he had many posses­sions (G). That’s a detail which tells us the man may not have just been starting out in life -- that he was old enough to have made his fortune.  We could imagine him, therefore, at some crossroad in his life, some turning-point, when he was open to something new, perhaps even on the verge of transforma­tion.  We might call it a “mid-life crisis”: an urgent impulse that made him run up to Jesus, kneel before him, and ask the burning question, Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? (G)

            Which is why Jesus’ answer disappoints him at first.  For that business about the command­ments was old hat.  He observed all those things from his youth (G). So if his question were prompted by dissatisfaction with his life, a realization his pursuits until now did not provide the fulfillment he thought they would, if he was ready for a change of pace, a chance to work on things long neglected, if he was looking for something more out of life, then we can understand why Jesus’ serving up the same old stuff, left the man hungry precisely for that something “more”.

            Problem is, when Jesus finally told him what he was lacking, what it would take for him to travel further on the journey, when Jesus said to him, Go, sell what you have. . .then, come, follow me, it was more than the rich man would do at that point in his life.  Even if it meant settling for less: for those things he had done from his youth, what no longer gave him life.  And so a depression set in: his face fell, and he went away sad (G).

            God knows what kind of “life” he went on to live.  I suspect his sadness continued, a sort of listless, low-energy existence: in a word, depressed.  That’s what happens at crucial junctures along the way: either we grow, being true to our “true self,” filling out what we lack or have left undeveloped -- or else we become, well, sad.

            And there are lots of things to prevent such growth.  Sometimes we can do little about them.  After all, we have obligations.  Mid-life crisis or no mid-life crisis, we can’t just walk away from our lives.  And yet, we have to be honest about what we can give away -- if we want to -- in order to be whole.

            As Pope Francis has said, commenting on today’s gospel: “Jesus asks you to leave behind what weighs down your heart, to empty yourself of goods in order to make room for him, the only good. We cannot truly follow Jesus when we are laden down with things . Because if our hearts are crowded with goods, there will not be room for the Lord, who will become just one thing among the others. For this reason, wealth is dangerous and – says Jesus – even makes one’s salvation difficult. Not because God is stern, no! The problem is on our part: our having too much, our wanting too much suffocates us, suffocates our hearts and makes us incapable of loving.”

            This past week we celebrated the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  While much younger than the figure in the gospel – and no keeper of the commandments from his youth! – Francis, the son of a wealthy merchant, had it made as the scion of Pietro Bernardone. And he took every advantage of it, following a meandering path of adventure and self-indulgence. But a stint in prison, a pilgrimage to Rome and a chance encounter with a leper triggered such a conversion to a life of renunciation that, much to his father’s dismay, he literally divested himself of the family’s wealth by stripping off his finery in the public square and following ever after his new muse, Lady Poverty.  Few people in history have taken Jesus’ admonition to the rich man, “Sell what you have…and come, follow me,” as literally as Francis of Assisi.

            And if I may quote his namesake once more, “Jesus is radical. He gives all and he asks all: he gives a love that is total and asks for an undivided heart. Even today he gives himself to us as the living bread; can we give him crumbs in exchange? We cannot respond to him, who made himself our servant even going to the cross for us, only by observing some of the commandments. We cannot give him, who offers us eternal life, some odd moment of time. Jesus is not content with a “percentage of love”: we cannot love him twenty or fifty or sixty percent. It is either all or nothing....We find joy in some fleeting pleasure, we close ourselves off in useless gossip, we settle into the monotony of a Christian life without momentum, where a little narcissism covers over the sadness of remaining unfulfilled.”

            Of course, such emptiness can gnaw at us no matter the age.  So the rich man is everyone really – it’s just a question of how we are empty in any given season of life, to know what we are lacking, and where a new vision and new approach to life can be found.  That’s why we pray the spirit of Wisdom come to us, that prudence be given us, deeming riches nothing in comparison with her (cf. I).  And if her counsels should at first pierce us, sharper than any two-edged sword; if God’s living and active word at a given point in time, should, at first, penetrate even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it’s only to help us discern the reflections and thoughts of our heart (cf. II).  At times, a painful process: this knowing who we are, and what God would have us be.  Yet, no creature is concealed from [God], but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him, to whom we must render an account (II).  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.



Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli)

In prayer let us call on God, from whom all good things come.

For all who strive to follow Jesus as teacher and Lord: May we find healing for our divisions and unity of faith in  God.

For those who serve God’s people in leadership: May they always prefer God’s wisdom to wealth and honor.

For those who guide people and nations: May they govern according to the wisdom that comes from God, to whom they must one day render an account.

For disciples who endure persecution for the sake of the good news: May they find courage and strength in Christ’s promise of the hundredfold reward.

For those who have worldly wealth and many possessions: May generous use of their resources liberate them for the kingdom of God.

For those suffering from depression: May God’s wisdom be their unceasing radiance and the care of family and friends their incomparable wealth.

For this assembly’s growth in discipleship: May we leave behind whatever hinders our following of Christ.

For those who lived the good news in this life: May they receive eternal life in the age to come.

God of wisdom, whose word probes the motives of our hearts, with you all things are possible. Let worldly treasure not keep us from Jesus, who looks on us with love. Free us to leave all things and follow him, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Hymn


I prayed and pleaded, and the Lord

Gave prudence unto me;

With Wisdom’s spirit, God endowed

My heart, and set me free.

All gold, in view of her, is sand,

And silver, only mire;

For wisdom’s worth is more than gems,

Or gold that’s tried in fire.

The call of Christ is wisdom’s call:

To hear the Word and live

In knowledge of this precious grace

Which God will freely give.

How wealth can block the path to God!

Cast all that blocks the way

Aside, and give God center place,

You children of the day!

God’s Word, alive and of effect,

Is sharp as two-edged sword,

Dividing, penetrating us

With grace from God adored!

Since nothing is concealed from God,

And we account must give,

Thus let us cling to Christ alone,

And in his mercy live!

Lord’s Prayer

We pray for our daily bread as Jesus taught us....

Spiritual Communion

Lord Jesus, we are saddened this day at being absent from the Banquet of eternal life that we might fulfill your commandment to observe your Supper in remembrance of you.  Fill us instead with the joy your Spirit bestows and which makes us confident in your divine indwelling.  Fill us too with the Spirit’s gift of wisdom that we might always live prudently, preferring nothing to your Kingdom in which lay treasures exceeding those of silver and gold and which are as sand and mire by comparison. 



Closing Hymn


Come follow me, said Christ the Lord.

All in my way abiding:

Your selfishness throw overboard,

Obey my call and guiding.

Oh, bear your crosses and confide

In my example as your guide.


I am the Light, I light the way,

A godly life displaying:

I help you walk as in the day,

I keep your feet from straying.

I am the Way, and well I show

How you should journey here below.


Then let us follow Christ our Lord,

And take the cross appointed,

And firmly clinging to his word,

In suffering be undaunted,

For those who bear the battle’s strain

The crown of heav’nly life obtain.