28 Sunday B

14th October 2018, 28th Ordinary Sunday, Year B. 
Wisdom 7:7-11 / Hebrews 4:12-13 / Mark 10:17-30

By and large, we human beings are quite predictable creatures and that is because we are creatures of habit.

From what we do, to what we say, to how we think, we can be habitually predictable and predictably habitual.

Which can be a good thing because that will put some stability and regularity into our lives.

Being creatures of habit, we will form a routine in our lives that is familiar and comfortable for ourselves.

So we will wake up at a particular time, and get up on a particular side of the bed; we will have a particular pattern of washing up and a particular way of having breakfast and a particular way of starting the day.

Not only are we creatures of habit when it comes to routine, we are also creatures of habit when it comes to sinning!

We have heard of people saying: I always commit the same sins! (At least I have heard of that before)

Well, if you always commit the same sins, then it may mean that you are a habitual sinner.

Anyway if you commit new sins every day, then you would need serious spiritual help.

Whether it is sin or other things, we have this habit of attachment.

Yes, we are attached to our habits because we have this habit of attachment.

We are attached to what is familiar. That’s why changing jobs can be a chaotic experience.

Just overnight and our working environment is so new to us and we have to start from scratch to prove our worth.

Shifting to a new house can be equally chaotic and even traumatic for the older people.

You lose your things, you lose your way, and if you don’t settle down quickly, you may even lose your mind.

Yes, we are all creatures of habit and our main habit is the habit of attachment.

We attach ourselves to what is familiar, to what is comfortable, to what is stable and secure.

To move out of these so-called “comfort zones” is to enter into a possible “danger” zone, where things can be chaotic and even traumatic.

In the gospel, we heard of a rich young man who was pretty comfortable in life.

He was also religiously habitual, as he faithfully kept the commandments, which he had kept from his earliest days.

So why did he want to go to Jesus and even knelt before Him and say, “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

That rich young man was pretty comfortable and secure, materially as well as religiously.

He was already having a good life here on earth. But he also wanted to do something to secure eternal life. And he was sincere about it.

And that’s why Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him.

That rich young man was a sincere seeker and he was humble enough to kneel before Jesus and ask what he should do to inherit eternal life.

Yet, when Jesus told him what to do, his face fell.

And the reason was that, as much as the rich young man was willing to do more, yet he couldn't do with less.

And with that, he went away sad. And we will not hear of him again in the gospel.

The rich young man had a habit – a habit of attachment. He was attached to his possessions, and in a sense, he was possessed by his attachment.

His habit is undeniably also our habit. We are attached to our possessions, and we become possessed by our attachments.

We may not possess great wealth, but it may be our health, our achievements, our promotions, our reputation, our enjoyment.

Yet, the wisdom of life tells us that life is a journey of progressive poverty.

We will, slowly but surely, lose our youth, our health, our memory, our eyesight, our hearing, and in the end we will lose everything.

And then we will go back to where we came from.

A mother brought her young son shopping. They passed by a bakery. The aroma of freshly baked pastries wafted through the air.

The boy stopped in his tracks, with his eyes fixed on the window display. His gaze was on a delicious-looking piece of chocolate cake. He drooled over the tempting cake.

Knowing the son’s interest, the doting mother bought the cake for her son. Her son was elated, his face beamed with delight and he squealed in joy.

The cashier put the cake in a box and handed it to the little boy.

The boy could not wait to have his cake and immediately set to open it.

As it was lunchtime, the mother did not want the boy to eat his cake then. So she took the cake away from the boy and said, “You can eat this later in the afternoon, ok?”

The boy reacted with a tantrum and loud wailing. He squat on the pavement outside the shop, his face was red and tears rolled down his cheeks, he screamed, “Mummy bad, bad mummy!”

Passersby stopped and stared at the boy and his mother. They wondered what had happened. The mother felt awkward and embarrassed.

Before the mother bought the boy the cake, he didn’t have anything. Now that the mother had taken the cake away, he is simply restored to his original state. He didn’t lose anything. There is nothing sad about that.

Looking at ourselves, aren’t we all like that boy?  We want our spouses to do things for us. We want to watch a certain TV programme. We want to have a certain phone, buy a certain car, own certain brands, go to certain restaurants, and taste certain food.

But, we didn’t have all these to begin with. And then when we have them, we feel like we can’t live without them. We have been “kidnapped” by these things.

Like what Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher said, “What we possess will in turn also possess us.”

A man was fishing by the river. He had been fishing for a few hours under the hot sun and had a few beers. Soon, he dozed off.

Suddenly, there was a strong tug at the end of his fishing line. A big fish had taken a bite and was hooked to his line. The sudden tug woke the man and in his confusion, he lost his balance and fell into the water. The man struggled in the water, with his rod in his hand and the fish still hooked to his line.

A boy who was strolling by the river with his father, was bewildered by the strange sight of the man and the fish both struggling in the water. He turned to his father and asked, “Daddy, is the man catching the fish or is the fish catching him?”

So similarly, are we catching the fish or is the fish catching us?

When we want something and because we don’t possess it and we become unhappy, then this thing itself has already possessed us and brought us unhappiness.

In fact, what we need, we already have it. And we should be thankful for that.

Jesus is looking steadily at us and loving us. That is all we need – for Jesus to look at us and love us.

Let us look at Jesus and love Him now. Because in eternity, we will be looking only at Jesus and loving Him. That is true happiness. And that is all we need. (SYim)