Money or Christ?
Sunday's gospel is the story of the rich young man who was invited by Jesus to give up his wealth and follow him. He is the only person in the gospel, about whom we're told, who refused to follow Jesus. Yet his refusal is understandable. If you or I had that much money, we'd find it hard to give it up too. The young man was faced with a stark choice, security with Christ or security in the bank, rely on Jesus or rely on money. It is a choice each of us may have to make, and an ongoing choice. Francis of Assisi came from a privileged wealthy background and he made the difficult choice to follow Jesus by embracing poverty with the result he is a great saint today.
Each Christian is called to follow Jesus. To make a wholehearted response is difficult. What held back the rich young man was money. What holds you and I back may be that, or something else. It could be money. Money often gains such a grip on people that it can be extraordinary. Some wealthy people often use wealth to get power or control over others. We have some people who amass much wealth, yet they are willing to share it. Mr. and Mrs. Bill Gates are good examples of people who are super wealthy and yet have been super generous in trying to control Malaria on a world wide basis.
For us normal people who have limited resources, we are asked to be generous to those less fortunate than ourselves. So many of you people are generous and caring. We all have to live and support our families, educate the kids, pay our dues and have a little left over. What I think is important is "attitude" to the needs of the poor and less-fortunate members of society. Am I willing to share and help these people? Do I have a good attitude to the plight of others in the third world or at home? To follow Christ is to follow in love: "Love one another....just as I have loved you."
You would wonder what became of the rich young man. Did he become a rich old miser? Did his money make him happy? Or did he perhaps lose it along the way? We simply don't know. I am reminded of Scrooge in Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" who learned his lesson the hard way and finally ended up as a happy, caring, generous person. The saddest thing about the rich young man is that he missed an opportunity to do so much good, to reach out to so many people and to serve so many people, if he had become a disciple of Jesus.
What a tragedy it would have been for Peter, if he had despaired after betraying and denying Jesus three times. Judas unfortunately despaired and he paid the price of betrayal. What a tragedy it would have been for the early Christian Community if Saul hadn't risked being Paul, if Saul had gone back to his tent-making, and refused the invitation to conversion and discipleship! Each of us gets the call to discipleship, to follow Christ, let each of us try to discern this call in our lives and try to follow it. We worship, pray and repent our sins in order that we may be daily followers of Christ.
Holy Ghost Fathers Annual Missions’ Dance
I would like to remind you all that the Irish Holy Ghost Fathers Annual Missions' Dance will be held at St. Mary's Parish Hall, Woodside on Sat. Nov. 10. Preparations for this great event are well in hand and at present we are preparing the dance journal. Please come to the dance and dance to "Rumor Has It" from 8pm to midnight, enjoy a nice hot buffet with refreshments, congenial company, and all for $45 per person. The Honorees at the dance are Mary Coyne, Thomas P. Giblin and Betty McLoughlin. Please contact me at 917 226 8237 or at email@example.com for more details. The proceeds from this dance will aid the Holy Ghost Fathers Missions in many needy countries.
Fall Social Afternoon
The Limerick Society of New York invites all to its "Fall Social Afternoon” on Sunday, October 28 from 3pm to 8pm, in the first floor private room at the Irish Rogue 356 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036. Admission is $35. Please come to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with friends and family, with music and an assortment of Irish Food plates. Cash Bar. For Reservations please contact Maurice Landers at 347-827-8713 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to meeting you all on October 30.
The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart will have their annual dinner dance at Riccardo's, 21-01 24th Ave., Astoria on Sunday October 21st. The annual Mass will be at 5.30 and dinner and dancing from 630 to 10.30. The charge will be $55 for adults and $20 for children under 12. Pete Kelly and his band will provide the music. This year’s honorees are John Houlihan from Dublin and Terrence Reynolds from Longford. Tickets are available from Mary Anne Muller 718 975 2744 or from Michael O'Sullivan at 914 237 1613.
By now you all know that the Irish Government and national tourist board is busily promoting "The Gathering 2013", to bring many tourists to Ireland. I was recently asked for my opinion on promoting it. I feel I can make two suggestions to the powers that be: One major problem for people visiting Ireland is the cost of travel, especially during the summer months when air fares are too high. So airlines lower the fares to and from Ireland.
My second suggestion is to use good clear postal slogans on all mail from Ireland, both to home and foreign addresses. I am a keen stamp collector of Irish stamps. I remember back in the 60's to 80's that many slogans were used on envelopes to bring tourists to such places as Wexford (Opera Festival), Ballina (promoting Salmon Fishing Festivals), and we also had a national logo saying "Ireland for Holidays", which was used for many years. Nowadays we do very little postal advertising in our mail and most of the logos used are indecipherable and blurry. The Germans, who use identical canceling machines as ours in Ireland are expert at promoting local German town tourism, and the French also excel. Nearly every town and city of France features on a French stamp and at present, they are producing so many stamps promoting local tourism in France. Perhaps some of my readers may know some Irish Postal officials!