Lacking – October 2018

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.

Mark 10:21, 22

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

In what are you lacking?  In the Old Testament, wealth and material goods are considered a sign of God’s favor. The words of Jesus, as St. Mark tells us, provoke astonishment among the disciples because of their apparent contradiction of the Old Testament concept. Since wealth, power, and merit generate false security, Jesus rejects them utterly as a claim to enter the kingdom. Achievement of salvation is beyond human capability and depends solely on the goodness of God Who offers it as a gift.

Jesus tells us that having ‘things’; living up to a ‘standard’; all of these are worthless, if they only fulfill ourselves and are not sought for the glory of God.  From Wisdom we hear, Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.  That is, all things together come to us by God and we receive countless riches through God.

In what are you lacking?  During this fiftieth anniversary of the Diocese of Orlando, our observance with renewed fervor has been toward the Gift of Sacred Mystery, the Eucharist.  We put aside our physical or temporal lack as we prayed that we recognize Jesus Christ the Lord in the breaking of the bread. We desire to dine in the kingdom of God.  We seek conversion, that as we dine with Jesus, we are transformed by His presence. We plead for forgiveness and ask how to offer His Peace to each other. We await the hospitality of God as we open our arms to each other in welcome. We make ready our heart as we bring justice and generosity toward each other, to fulfill His mission. We take hope today that through the Eucharist, we too can taste and feel Jesus’ fulfilled promise, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

At the start of the month of October, we once again renewed our fervor toward the Eucharist as we reflect upon the inherent dignity, the hallowed beauty of each person because we are created by our most generous God.  During these past few months, I had the blessing to celebrate Mass with our brothers and sisters of Bishop Moore Catholic High School, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, and Morning Star Catholic School, St. James Cathedral, St. Joseph, Winter Haven and St. John Vianney, Orlando.  Whom did I encounter?  I encountered the Real Presence as I saw our youngest offering spiritual psalms to our oldest; I witnessed an outreached hand for a student with special needs to assist him; I looked upon the honor of the alumni of St. James Cathedral as they form their children through Catholic education; I tasted the wisdom of the elderly nurturing our students about the importance of praying the Rosary; I rejoiced in the diversity of our parish community as they rejoice with each other.   The community of Bishop Grady Villas who are anointed with disabilities came to pray with our first responders at the Blue Mass and will be sharing their gift of life with those who participate in the Annual Harvest Ball of Bishop Grady Villas, always a celebration of thanksgiving.

Countless riches.  From God.  For us.

In what are you lacking?