The account of the Rich Young Man in today’s Gospel presents Jesus with another opportunity to speak on a common topic: money and materialism. Over half of the parables or stories Jesus tells in the Gospels relate to the proper (or improper) use of material things. I’m quite sure things haven’t changed much in this regard: people then disliked it as much as people today when you talk about money! It’s clear that the young man in the Gospel desires eternal life. The sad thing is that he desires material wealth more. Money and material things are not evil in themselves. It is our attachment to them which corrupts us. Jesus’ command to “sell what you have and give to the poor” was the only way to break the rich young man’s attachment to wealth. Then he could have helped the poor, been with Jesus, and been happy.
You should be receiving your letter from Bishop Callahan along with the materials for the Diocesan Annual Appeal this week. Our parish target this year is $46,650. Last year we exceeded our target by more than $39,000! Indeed, this is the best way to both meet the wider Church’s needs AND to help our parish. Naturally, I hope that you can make a generous, sacrificial gift to the Diocesan Annual Appeal. But, even if you are unable to make a financial gift to the Appeal, I request that you still return your pledge card (writing “prayers” in place of a pledge amount). You may either mail your pledge card using the provided envelope or drop it in the offertory at Mass on Sunday. Pray for the success of the Diocesan Annual Appeal. Pray also that God will give each of us a generous heart as we seek to meet the many needs of our parish, the Diocese of La Crosse, and throughout the world.
May God bless you!