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Monday, March 3, 2003

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St. Katharine Drexel

Sirach 17:19-27
Psalm 32
Mark 10:17-27

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"He went away sad, for he had many possessions." —Mark 10:22

After the young, rich man ran up to Jesus and asked what he must do to share in everlasting life (Mk 10:17), the man walked away sad (Mk 10:22). He not only "had many possessions" (Mk 10:22) but was possessed by his possessions. The young, rich man chose "the creature rather than the Creator" (Rm 1:25). He chose pleasure rather than love. He chose himself over God.

We don't know why the young, rich man was possessed by his material possessions, but his possessiveness of material things was probably a way of compensating for the emptiness he had from possessing non-material things, such as unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and anger. "Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will suffer the Lord's vengeance, for He remembers their sins in detail. Forgive your neighbor's injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Should a man nourish anger against his fellows and expect healing from the Lord?" (Sir 27:30—28:3) If we don't forgive others, we severely impoverish ourselves interiorly. If we refuse to repent, we compensate by possessing things which eventually possess us. Then we become doubly possessed — both by material things and by bitter, resentful unforgiveness. Under these circumstances, we make dreadful choices, such as rejecting Jesus and walking away from Him into the abyss of self-hatred and hell.

Why do we choose lifestyles so preoccupied with material possessions? Our racism, resentment, vengeance, and anger have left us empty of love, glutted with bitterness, and possessed by possessions. By God's grace, stop hugging wrath and unforgiveness. Hug Jesus and be possessed by Him.

Prayer:  Father, fill me and free me.

Promise:  "How great the mercy of the Lord, His forgiveness of those who return to Him!" —Sir 17:24

Praise:  In 64 years, St. Katharine founded 63 Catholic schools.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 1, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 7, 2002