Becoming Richer through Subtraction, Monday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time (I), August 19, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Monday of the 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. John Eudes
August 19, 2013

To listen to an audio recording of this homily please click here: 


In the homily the following points were made:

  • Despite the infidelity of the Israelites in the Holy Land after they had repeatedly vowed to be faithful to their end of the covenant (Saturday, August 17), we see God’s continued fidelity in sending them judges to liberate them from the snares into which their sinful behavior led them.
  • In the Gospel of the Rich Young Man, when he asks about having eternal life, Jesus first responds that it is a life of fidelity to the commandments. He seems sincerely to believe that he has kept them perfectly from his youth, but Jesus’ changing the order implies that he may not be fulfilling all his duties to his parents or truly loving his neighbor as he loves himself. We see that when Jesus asks him to sell and give all of his possessions to his poor neighbors, he balks. To his question as to the path of perfection, he believes he’s missing something, but Jesus basically says he has too much and that he needs to give what he has away. The path to spiritual wealth is through subtraction of material things, not primarily through acquisition.
  • We see these truths lived out in the life of St. John Eudes, who over the course of his 79 years, preached 110 missions trying to bring people to conversion, to understand the true wealth and seek the path of holiness, which is the path of perfection. He was the great theologian behind the liturgical devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary even before Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. He tried to have our hearts become rich through union with Christ’s heart. That great loving fusion of hearts takes place most in the Mass, for which St. John Eudes said we’d need an eternity to prepare, another eternity to celebrate and a third to give thanks.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
JGS 2:11-19

The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals.
Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers,
who led them out of the land of Egypt,
they followed the other gods of the various nations around them,
and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD.Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth,
the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel,
and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them.
He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about
whom they were no longer able to withstand.
Whatever they undertook, the LORD turned into disaster for them,
as in his warning he had sworn he would do,
till they were in great distress.
Even when the LORD raised up judges to deliver them
from the power of their despoilers,
they did not listen to their judges,
but abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods.
They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken,
and did not follow their example of obedience
to the commandments of the LORD.
Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge
and save them from the power of their enemies
as long as the judge lived;
it was thus the LORD took pity on their distressful cries
of affliction under their oppressors.
But when the judge died,
they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
following other gods in service and worship,
relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43AB AND 44

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They did not exterminate the peoples,
as the LORD had commanded them,
But mingled with the nations
and learned their works.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They served their idols,
which became a snare for them.
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They became defiled by their works,
and wanton in their crimes.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
and abhorred his inheritance.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Many times did he rescue them,
but they embittered him with their counsels.
Yet he had regard for their affliction
when he heard their cry.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

MT 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.