Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday
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.
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.
Gospel: Mk. 10:17–30
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.” Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” 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.”
In other words Fr. Arlo Yap, SVD (Catholic Trade, Manila)
Choices! Options! Every day we choose. Every day we decide on what to wear for the day. We decide to which school we enroll in the next year. Among these choices, there is such a thing as preference.
Google Dictionary defines preference as “a greater liking for one alternative over another or others.” Preference is usually based on the level of happiness, gratification, and time duration. Yes, we decide most of the time not only between good and evil but also between good and better.
On 22nd October, I will be celebrating my 38th year of priestly life. We were four brothers who entered the seminary in high school. I was the least expected to become a priest. I was maillot (lively, always moving around), madaldal (talkative), and pilyo (naughty). At first, I thought I could become an excellent mechanical engineer and raise a family of my own. When I was a teenager, I met my special someone whom I thought God created for me. But in my college years at Christ the King Mission Seminary, the earliest word of God that changed my outlook in life was, “…God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27). It was then when I chose my priestly vocation as an SVD missionary!
Ahh, kaya pala! (Ahh, it’s doable!) Preference!
In the First Reading, the spirit of wisdom is preferred to scepter and throne. Choosing wisdom instead of gold and light will eventually lead to countless riches and good things. This is preference!
In the Second Reading, that wisdom is in the Word of God, “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.” These reflections are the voice of God. And the voice of God is wisdom.
Finally, in the Gospel, the man asked Jesus for guidance on how to inherit eternal life. He had obeyed God’s commandments since his youth. But when Jesus advised him to sell his possessions, the man felt bad and left sad.
Preference! The man in the Gospel is exactly the opposite of the man in the First Reading. The man in the Gospel preferred his possessions to following Jesus. In the First Reading, the author preferred the spirit of wisdom to power and gold.
According to St. Paul, the best guide to lead us to proper preference is the Word of God. Unfortunately, the man in the Gospel did not listen to the voice of Jesus that could have led him to discernment because it was tough for him to let go of the riches of the world.
Ahh, kaya pala! The assurance for choosing wisdom, and for choosing Jesus over worldly treasures is in the Psalm today, “Fill us with Your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!” Kaya pala!