Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
During this month of October, the month dedicated to Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, let us ask our Blessed Mother for the Peace of Jesus Christ for our country and the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart in our world! This Sunday, I share with you a teaching on the encounter with Jesus. I encourage you to reflect over this message a few times this week:
“The Look of Jesus - The greatest Wisdom lies in finding Jesus Christ: The texts of today’s Holy Mass speak to us of Divine Wisdom. We should value It above any other good. In the First Reading we listen to the prayer of Solomon: I called upon God, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepters and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her. Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her. (Wis. 7:7:11) Nothing can compare with the knowledge of God that gives meaning to our lives: I loved her more than health and beauty, and I chose to have her rather than light, because her radiance never ceases. All good things came to me along with her, and in her hands uncounted wealth.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God Incarnate, is Divine Wisdom that has been hidden from all eternity in the bosom of the Father. He is now accessible to all men and women who are disposed to open their hearts to Him. Next to Jesus, all gold is but a little sand, and silver accounted as clay. To possess Christ is to possess everything.
That is why we commit the greatest folly whenever we choose some worldly good in place of Christ, be it honor, wealth, good health, anything at all. Nothing is worth more than the Master. My Lord, thank You for coming to earth. You could have saved us without coming. It was sufficient that You wanted to save us. The Incarnation was not necessary. Yet you wanted to leave an example for us of total perfection… Thank You, my Master, for having come into the midst of the world, a man among men, the Man among men, like one of us… and yet this Man would ‘draw all things to Himself,’ since there has existed nothing so perfect before or since or ever shall. Thank You for coming to earth because now I can look upon You and sustain my life on You. (J. Leclerq, Thirty Meditations on Christian Life, Bilbao 1958) The greatest Wisdom lies in finding You, my Lord, in following You.
The encounter with the rich young man: In today’s Gospel, St. Mark recounts the story of the young man who preferred worldly goods to Christ Himself. (Mark 10:17-30) Jesus and His disciples were about to set off on their way to Jerusalem when a young man ran up and knelt before the Master. (cf. Matt. 19:16) Good Teacher, he said, What must I do to inherit eternal life? The Lord replied that he should follow the Commandments as a sure path to salvation.
The young man answered that he had followed the Law ever since he was a child. Jesus then looked at him, taking stock of the purity of this heart and the potential for generosity within it. A nd Jesus looking upon him, loved him. He loved him with a love of predilection. He invited the youth to follow Him, setting aside and forsaking all that he possessed.
We may recall that St. Mark is recording the catechesis of St. Peter. He would have received all of the details from the lips of the Apostle. This explains the Evangelist’s reference to the way Jesus looked at the young man. Peter would never forget the look of Jesus that changed the course of his own life! Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas’. (John 1:42) Peter’s life was never the same after that.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to contemplate the look of Jesus! At times it is lofty and winning; or pained and sorrowful, as when He faced the incredulity of the Pharisees. (cf. Mark 2:5) There was His look of compassion for the deceased son of the widow of Naim. (cf. Luke 7:13) His look invited Matthew to rise up and follow Him. (cf. Matt. 9:9) It was able to move the heart of Zacchaeus to conversion. (cf. Luke 19:5) This was the look of love that beheld the poor widow in the Temple who gave all that she had. (cf. Mark 12:41-44) This penetrating look brings the soul face to face with God Himself, inspiring contrition. That was the effect the look of Jesus had on the woman found in adultery (cf. John 8:10) and on Peter himself. (cf. Luke 22:61; Mark 14:72) On Holy Thursday night a mere glance caused Peter to weep bitterly for his cowardice.
Jesus looked with great affection at this bold young man: Jesus autem intuitus eum dilexit eum. And He beckoned to him: ‘Follow me.’ Walk in My path! Stand by My side! Remain in My love! (John Paul II, Homily on Boston Common, 1 October 1979) This is the invitation that perhaps we ourselves have received… and we have followed Him! Man needs this loving look. He needs to know that he is loved, loved eternally and chosen from eternity (cf. Eph. 1:4). At the same time, this eternal love of Divine Election accompanies man during life as Christ’s look of love. And perhaps most powerfully at the moment of trial, humiliation, persecution, defeat, when our humanity is as it were blotted out in the eyes of other people, insulted and trampled upon. At that moment the awareness that the Father has always loved us in His Son, that Christ always loves each of us, becomes a solid support for our whole human existence. When everything would make us doubt ourselves and the meaning of our life, then this look of Christ, the awareness of the love that in Him has shown itself more powerful than any evil and destruction, this awareness enables us to survive. (idem, Letter to Youth, 31 March 1985, 7)
Each person receives a personal call to follow the Master. If we respond to Christ’s invitation we will be filled with peace and true joy. Authentic Wisdom consists in saying ‘yes’ to each one of Christ’s invitations in the course of our life. Open your own hearts to Jesus and tell Him your story. I don’t want to generalize. But one day, perhaps, an ordinary Christian, just like you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the Gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles. Perhaps you lost your balance then and didn’t recover it. Your complacency wasn’t quite replaced by true peace until you freely said ‘yes’ to God, because you wanted to, which is the most supernatural of reasons. And in its wake came a strong, constant joy, which disappears only when you abandon Him. (J. Escriva, Christ is Passing By, 1) This is the joy of giving one’s self. What a contrast this is to the sadness of the rich young man who didn’t want to heed the Lord’s call! Jesus invites us to follow Him: Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me. This was the Lord’s advice to the youth who had great possessions. The words of Jesus should have served as a cause for joy to the young man, but they made him sad. A t that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful. The sadness of the young man makes us reflect. We could be tempted to think that many possessions, many of the goods of this world, can bring happiness.
We see instead in the case of the young man in the Gospel that his many possessions had become an obstacle to accepting the call of Jesus to follow Him. He was not ready to say ‘yes’ to Jesus, and ‘no’ to self, to say ‘yes’ to love and ‘no’ to escape. Real love is demanding. (John Paul II, Homily on Boston Common, 1 October1979) If we should notice a trace of sadness in our heart, perhaps it is because the Lord is asking from something which we do not want to relinquish. Maybe we have not yet freed our heart from some earthly attachment. This is the moment to remember those words of Jesus at the close of this roadside encounter: Truly, I say to you, 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, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
Come and follow Me… How must everyone there have been eagerly expecting, or hoping for, the right answer from the young man! With these same words Jesus called His closest disciples. This invitation is a calling to accompany the Lord in His own ministry, to listen to His doctrine and to digest it, to imitate His way of life…
After the Lord’s Ascension into Heaven this ‘following’ no longe
means being with the Lord in Palestine. Our challenge is to be with Christ in the middle of the world, right where He found us. We need to make His life and His teaching part of our very being, of the very air we breathe. We need to communicate Christ’s message in all the circumstances of our daily life. The Venerable Josemaria Escriva has written: I have distinguished as it were four stages in our effort to identify ourselves with Christ: seeking Him, finding Him, getting to know Him, loving Him. It may seem clear to you that you are only at the first stage. Seek Him then, hungrily; seek Him within yourselves with all your strength. If you act with determination,
I am ready to guarantee that you have already found Him, and have begun to get to know Him and to love Him, and to hold your conversation in Heaven. (J. Escriva, Friends of God, 300) Jesus is alive today and He is calling His disciples - the same Jesus Who walked the roads of Palestine. We cannot let slip the wonderful opportunity He offers us.” (From: In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez)
Through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, St. Joseph, St. Michael, St. Paul, and all the Holy Angels, may God grant us the grace of true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and love for His Holy Will!
In Christ through Mary,