The East of the River Revival was awesome! Indeed, it was powerful, electric
stuff with the Holy Spirit. I was there on Monday night when the revivalist, Deacon
Harold, gave a rousing, inspiring, and insightful talk. The Lord moved some hearts
through him! There were some entertaining moments as well. When the deacon
spoke about the rosary as a weapon and his consists of bullets, he joked that “every
time you pray the rosary, you pop a cap in the devil’s ass!”
The theme of his message was taken from Pope Francis’s, “The Joy of the
Gospel”. He focused on living happiness with joy. With a strong showing of
Assumption parishioners in the congregation, he was preaching to the choir! But, he
gave several examples from today’s world of people who live happiness without joy.
He even used the story of this Sunday’s Gospel as an example: the young man in
Mark 10 who was happy living the commandments, but then felt “sad” when he
couldn’t answer Jesus’s call to give up everything he had to follow Him.
It’s a story to which we can all relate in one way or another. It’s a story about
detaching from the things of the world. The man had many attachments in his life
which we presume are material possessions. In Matthew’s Gospel, he is described as
a “rich young man”. In both Gospel accounts (Mark and Matthew), he couldn’t give
up everything because “he had many possessions”. He was attached to his
possessions and to his wealth which is the danger of both.
People can become attached to them and the power, status, prestige, and
control that they appear to give. But, these attachments don’t bring happiness. In
fact, they can lead to sadness. This is what the young man in the Gospel experienced.
Our hearts are built by God to be attached to Him alone. ONLY when we are free to
attach ourselves to Christ and to follow Him do we find happiness with joy.
In a spiritual way, the story of the young man is the story of your pastor’s
vocation. I heard Jesus’s call to be a priest when I first entered the seminary. Like
the young man, I walked away from the call two years later. I was too attached to my
own dreams, goals, and desires. But, this Gospel story kept coming up in my
prayer…particularly, the word “sad”. When I realized that sadness is the result of not
answering the Lord’s call, I came back to the vocation and have experienced true
happiness, joy, and peace ever since. These are some of the “hundred times more”
fruits Jesus promises in Mark 10:30 for those who follow Him:
“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up (attachments)… for my
sake and for the sake of gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now…and
eternal life in the age to come”.
–Sincerely in Christ,