Today our Gospel tells us something interesting: we can’t take our salvation for granted. Jesus assures us that it takes work to be faithful, to get to heaven. Jesus opened up the doors to heaven – he made it possible that we might get there – but it still takes our cooperation to walk through those doors, to live a life that goes there.
Today we see this rich young man in the gospel – he wants to go to heaven, a good desire. His problem is he wants to know the bare minimum. What do I HAVE to do to get there? What are the requirements? And Jesus spells out the commandments as a starting point, to which the guy says, I already do that pretty much. Then Jesus says, Ah yes, but you haven’t given me everything. That’s what I want. I don’t want the minimum, the leftovers. I want it all. Jesus wants it all. The rich young man leaves Jesus, thinking his possessions matter more.
The rich young man gives us an example of what NOT to do. But in this month of October, we honor a woman who shows us very much what TO DO. October is the month of Mary. We Catholics love Mary — and so did the first Protestants by the way (read Luther and Calvin and Henry VIII). We have statues in and outside our churches and schools, in and outside our homes, we have images of her everywhere, votive candles in front of her, we have rosaries and pictures. We love Mary. That’s why I’ve put a big statue out front on Broadway, why we’re getting votive candles here, and all kinds of things.
The Angel told Joseph, don’t be afraid to take Mary into your home. Jesus from his cross told John and by extension all the disciples to follow: BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER. He says YOUR mother, not MY mother, though she was his mother too. Jesus is telling us: Mary is your mom! Look at her! Cherish her! Keep her ever in your mind!
And why these messages from God?? Why all the “Mary stuff” in our homes and churches??? Because Mary is someone who GAVE GOD EVERYTHING. And maybe – just maybe – the more we look at a woman who gave Jesus everything, the more we might do the same. When we look at Blessed Mother, we see someone who, unlike the rich young man, gave Jesus everything.
The more we look at Mary, the more generous we are with our lives. Sometimes people say, how late can I come to mass and it still count? how early can i leave? how many times do i have to go to confession? how much do I have to give? How many volunteer hours do I have to do? etc etc etc
But all these questions fade when we give Jesus everything.
This consecration bracelet that I wear – it is a reminder that I am consecrated to Jesus through Mary. We’re going to start a consecration group soon, details after Mass. But the point is that we are consecrated to God (not Mary!) – set aside for the holy – through Mary, the model of perfect discipleship. I can’t wait for this!
We go through Mary for a host of reasons. The biggest one – just look at Jesus’ first miracle in the gospel. The wine runs out at Cana, and Mary intercedes. Jesus works the miracle, but only after Mary intervenes. If you ever need a miracle, to Mary and she’ll take it to Jesus.
We can go to Jesus directly of course, but why avoid Blessed Mother? When God wanted to come to earth, he didn’t avoid her; he came through her! It’s the same in reverse folks! When we want to go to heaven, we shouldn’t avoid Mary; we go through her!
Let us model our discipleship after the example of Our dear, dear mother Mary.