"He went away sad."
Many people come to Mass, where Jesus looks upon us with love just as He looked upon the rich young man that we hear about again in today's Gospel reading, and go away sad just as the young man did. Whether such persons come to Mass once a year at Christmas or at Easter, or once in a while as a convenience, such persons experience the same divided spirit between God and the world as did the rich young man.
We were made to be whole, to be one, to have all of the aspects of our lives integrated in order to be happy, to live lives without the sadness that so many experience today who lack nothing that the world can offer. Review every area of human achievement: wealth, fame, beauty, talent, and in all of these you will find persons who seem to have all that the world can offer and yet they "go away sad".
Jesus Christ offers Himself as the absolute value of our existence. And though some look to the prospect of conversion with trepidation, with fear to leave behind the comfort of the familiar, and go away sad as did the rich young man, we are always offered the horizon of faith which truly brings hope with the assurance of God's love.
On October 11 our Holy Father launched the Year of Faith, inviting the whole Church to join together to seek anew the face of Jesus Christ, offered to us as was offered to the young man. Whether we are baptized and yet uncatechized, Catholics who have ceased practicing their Faith, or Catholics who fail to witness to Jesus Christ in their public lives, causing scandal as happened last week when millions watched as a man who described himself as Catholic voiced support for abortion on demand, all of us are called, invited and loved by God enough to cross the threshold of hope, and enter the "Porta Fidei", the door of faith, into a renewed and reinvigorated life of generous and courageous adherence to Jesus Christ, the absolute value, the supreme treasure who alone can promise eternal life.
Do not "go away sad" today. Or ever. Yes, while Jesus Christ in whom we believe and who is the Way and the Truth and the Life, makes clear that conversion, in light of the absolute value of Him and of His Kingdom, requires detachment from every worldly
affiliation or association and can be daunting, we can say "yes" to Him today.
"I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
A life of sincere and heartfelt prayer which flows from His loving Words in the Scriptures and substantial Presence in the Eucharist, by which he truly looks upon us with love, seeks Him as its source every time we come together on the Lord's Day. We can assent with the intellect and the will to His friendship and love through such prayer for wisdom, and promise now to begin to make such changes as detachment requires so that our hope is truly in His promise. And we will receive:
"a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."