Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Roger J. Landry

5/28/2013 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Today Jesus describes the dividends Christ's can expect from their total investment to the Gospel. The Lord is calling us all to more. In order to receive everything he suffered, died, rose and ascended to give us, however, we need first to empty ourselves out. That's what the Apostles grasped and the Rich Young Man didn't.


By Fr. Roger J. Landry

Catholic Online (

5/28/2013 (3 years ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: year of faith, ordinary time, fr. roger j. landry

FALL RIVER, MA (Catholic Online).-  "We have given up everything and followed you."

St. Peter said those words after the moving episode of the Rich Young Man's tragic choice to greedily hold onto his possessions instead of grasping on to Jesus.

The apostles had done the opposite.

Peter had given up his fishing business and the biggest catch of his life to follow Jesus. Matthew had left his hefty tax collection on the table to follow him.

Jesus had said that the kingdom of God was like a pearl of great price, or a treasure buried in a field, worth selling everything else one has to obtain. The apostles had taken that gamble of faith and paid that total price, not only leaving behind material possessions but also their families, villages, friends and so much more.

But after Jesus' words that it is easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye than for someone rich in possessions to enter his kingdom, Peter was clearly wondering whether anyone would be able to fit through such a tiny door. He was wondering whether all those sacrifices would in the end be a wise wager or a foolish bet.

Jesus took advantage of Peter's concern to remind him, the other apostles, and all of us until the end of time that we can never out-give God.

In the first reading, Sirach reminds us that the sacrifices we make for God "will never be forgotten" because "the Lord is one who always repays and he will give back to you sevenfold."

In the Gospel, Jesus says that not even that rate of return is enough for God.

He swears and oath and declares, "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."

Not sevenfold, Jesus emphasizes, but one-hundred fold. Jesus promises a life full of "houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands."

As we see in the life of the apostles, the way they received those gifts in abundance was not according to the materialism that might have grasped the Rich Young Man's attention.

The apostles didn't become the biggest landowners in ancient Palestine. Their biological families didn't explode with hundreds of siblings. Their mothers didn't need to worry about competition from 99 other madres.

Jesus was speaking in a true, but spiritual, sense.

They now were the recipients of a hospitality that far exceeded the normal welcoming of Middle Eastern customs, staying with believers all across their journeys, where mothers cared for them with all the affection that the best mothers would show to their most beloved offspring.

Through baptism and the blood of Christ, they formed bonds with thousands of spiritual siblings deeper than any biological blood or genes could effectuate.

Through their mission, they recognized in a far different way than ever before that the whole world was the Lord's and he had made them stewards.

But not even that was enough. Jesus went onto promise two other things.

One was "eternal life," where they would inhabit a new heavens and a new earth, where a mansion had been prepared for them, where they would be surrounded by far more than 144,000 spiritual siblings.

The other was "persecutions."

We have to admit that that seems a strange inclusion in a litany of blessings. But persecutions can be among the greatest of blessings, as they allow us not only to grow in faith but to advance on the path of 100-fold in this world and an eternal pension plan that no actuary would ever dare draw up.

There's a reason why we bless ourselves and others with the sign of the Cross, because we recognize that the Cross is a blessing that brings to us all Christ gained for us on the Cross and allows us to die to ourselves on our own daily Crosses so that we might never make the choice the Rich Young Man did.
"Blessed are you," Jesus said in the culmination of the Beatitudes, "when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me." Those persecutions are what leads to the promise, "Your reward in heaven will be great."

In this Year of Faith, it's important for us to examine whether we trust Jesus enough to believe in and act on his words.

Today he is calling us, like he called Peter and the apostles, to a radical trust. He's asking us to believe that if we detach ourselves from all our possessions, if we use all he gave us for the poor, if we put him above our families and follow him along the Way of the Cross, then we will receive so much more than we sacrifice in this world and in the next.

Are we prepared to make that gamble in faith, trusting in his assurance?

There are many good people, including virtuous Christians, who like the Rich Young Man, and unlike the apostles, are unwilling to stake their entire life on their faith in Jesus' words. They'll keep the commandments. They'll give something, or even contribute generously, to the building up of the kingdom. But they're not willing, as Peter said, to give up everything to follow the Lord.

Likewise, many of those who at least outwardly have given up nearly everything - those who live by the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience - sometimes have done so only partially, still seeking security in community possessions, or in illicit relationships, or in their control of their own lives and destiny.

The Lord is calling us all to more. In order to receive everything he suffered, died, rose and ascended to give us, however, we need first to empty ourselves out. That's what the Apostles grasped and the Rich Young Man didn't.

"Many that are first will be last," Jesus concludes the passage today, "and the last will be first." This is one of Jesus' favorite paradoxes about the kingdom, about how what seems fair and just in the logic of the world is totally overturned in the mind of God.

One of the many ways that this is true is that those "last" in coming to faith are often "first" in taking the Lord seriously and giving all. Recent converts are often those who immediately think about going "all in" to the life of the faith and giving up families, lands, and houses to serve God and others as priests, consecrated and religious, whereas those who have been raised in the faith for decades often water down their commitments.

Converts are the ones who with great zeal try to turn their families around, who begin to tithe, who begin to behave in a way somewhat commensurate with the tremendous graces they have received. Sirach says today, "Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously."

As we sing in the last verse of the great hymn "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," "Were the whole realm of nature mind, it was an off'ring far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all."

That's what the Rich Young Man never grasped. It's what the apostles did. Now it's our turn to choose.


Father Roger Landry is pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Fall River, MA and national chaplain of Catholic Voices USA. His homilies and articles are found on


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'

Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.


More Year of Faith

The Happy Priest on the Baptism of the Lord and our own Baptism Watch

Image of

By Fr. James Farfaglia

The consideration of Jesus' baptism, gives us an opportunity to remember our own baptism.  If you do not know the date of your own baptism, it is a good idea to go through your personal files and find out when it occurred.  CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic ... continue reading

Regret of Judas or Repentance of Peter?

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - I didn't steal any cookies mommy! says a little boy whose mother asked him if he was hungry, wiping the ... continue reading

Pentecost: St Cyril of Jerusalem on The Living Water of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one man's self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches ... continue reading

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading

The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading

Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading

Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading

The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading

Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading

Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading

All Year of Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 8:6-13
6 As it is, he has been given a ministry as far superior as is the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:8, 10, 11-12, 13-14
8 I am listening. What is God's message? Yahweh's message is peace for ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:13-19
13 He now went up onto the mountain and summoned those he wanted. So they ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 20th, 2017 Image

St. Fabian
January 20: Eusebius, born just a few years after Fabian's ... Read More