"Stuff" Does Not Fill the Holes in Our Hearts
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Wisdom chapter 7, verses 7-11
Hebrews chapter 4, verses 12-13
Mark chapter 10, verses 17-30

All of the above readings speak to us of the primary importance of recognizing and adopting a set of priorities as presented to us by our Creator. Priorities enunciated by His prophets and holy writers and ultimately by His Divine Son.

These priorities are intended to form the foundation and framework of Christian life.

God's word tells us that there is nothing wrong with our putting a certain limited value on the acquisition and maintenance of "things;" but only within the context of God-given priorities.

The Book of Wisdom reminds us that "stuff" does not fill the holes in our hearts. If you don't understand, just ask any workaholic, shopaholic or alcoholic. Furthermore, the same source affirms that many material rewards are simply not worth the asking price. This is also and particularly true of power, prestige and popularity.

Do you want someone to spell out in detail the priorities of which we speak? Don't ask! An essential part of the process is making the personal effort to identify them, to, as it were, name them. But, permit me to suggest a way of proceeding.

I believe the key to be in the above Gospel reading. It is almost hidden. We are told that Jesus looked at him and loved him. That "look" invited a "look" in return.

Theresa of Avilla was one of the great mystics of history. She was also a Doctor of The Church which is an honor bestowed upon less than 35 of the most scholarly saints. She offers this advice... "Look at Jesus as, tenderly and humbly, He looks at you." How incredibly simple!

Saint Jean Vianney, the Cure' of Ars, a French saint of the 19th century described his prayer life in his uniquely uncomplicated way when he said... "I kneel before The Blessed Sacrament and Jesus looks at me and I look at Him."

You see, the necessary foundation is RELATIONSHIP. Our priorities must spring from that relationship... Not from the fanciful dreams of the far left. Not from the airless tombs of the far right. Not even from theological opinions and canonical rules and regulations though they doubtlessly have their necessary place in the scheme of things.

When it came time for Peter's final exam, Jesus asked him 3 questions. They were all the same. "Simon, do you love me?"

When our focus changes from our stuff and baggage to His face... everything else will fit into place.

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