There is a popular comedian who released a new series on Netflix, and in that series, he talks about a fan that was a fan and became not a fan because he said a joke that she found offensive. It was interesting because she confronted him on the street and she name the joke, and she said, “I find that to be offensive.” He said to her, “Comedy is like art, and you are free to interpret art however you want. So, suppose you see a painting in a museum. In that case, you can interpret it however you want, but if you want to know what is the meaning behind the painting or what the meaning is behind the joke or what the comedy intends, what you have to do is ask the comic because then you will know in his heart what he means and intends.”

I have had this myself as a priest before. Sometimes I preach a homily, and people will hear things I may not have said, but the Holy Spirit speaks to them. Sometimes people hear things that I did not mean, and they are really upset by something I said in the homily that was not my intent. That was not the meaning.

The same is true with God. God is the one who is the Divine Artist. So, all of creation is for us and is on display. We can go and look at creation, and we can look at the world, and we can make our own judgment and say, “Well, this is what I think it is, or this is how I think God works.” But it is not until we go to the actual artist, God, and we say, “What is the meaning of this? What are You trying to show us in creation? What is the meaning of my life?”

We hear in the first book from Wisdom, I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.

So, for us to gain wisdom and understand the purpose of creation, the purpose of our lives, the reality of why is there sin in this world? Why is there suffering? What is your ultimate plan? We can try to come up with that on our own, but chances are we are going to miss what God wants to show to us in His creation. So, to get past that, to get beyond our understanding, the way to do it is to go directly to the source. To go to Jesus and say, “What is this all about? What is the purpose of creation? What is the purpose of my life?” When we do that, the amazing thing is He gives us the answer. God wants to reveal to us the purpose of the world, the purpose of our lives, and the purpose of creation, and that is why He sent Jesus into the world that He may show us the way.

We hear about this rich young man in today’s Gospel and want to ultimately know the purpose. He wants to know ultimately what will bring him to heaven, so he does something wonderful. He goes up to Jesus, and he says to Him, “Master, teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? The amazing thing is Jesus looks at him with love. Jesus is so happy that this man has come before Him and asking a question because He wants to show him the way. He wants to hand over to him the Kingdom of God. He wants to give him wisdom, but something happens with this because the man asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” and Jesus looks at him with love and He has got the way for him, and so He tells him, “You must sell everything you have and give it to the poor and then come and follow Me.” So, Jesus is giving him the master plan, and this is probably one of the saddest lines in all of scripture, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. He was not able to do what Jesus was revealing to him. So, after he walks away sad, the disciples say to Jesus, “Lord, look at us. We have given up everything to follow you.” Jesus tells them how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God. Then He says even beyond that how hard it is for anyone to enter the Kingdom of God. So He is revealing to us that for us to enter into heaven is impossible. We cannot do it. So even if you were to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, you still could not enter the Kingdom of God. Then He uses the classic parable of the camel passing through the eye of a needle. He says, “Just as it is impossible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, so it is for you to enter the kingdom of God.” He is revealing that the only way to enter into the kingdom is through Him. 

So He looks at you with great love right now. You are here at mass on Sunday because you desire eternal life. I bet if you closed your eyes right now and you asked Him, “Lord, what must I give up to enter the kingdom of God?” And you asked that sincerely. If you begged and prayed for that wisdom. I bet He would tell you. I bet He would say to you what is preventing you from ultimately entering into the kingdom of God.

Then He goes on to give this hopeful promise. He tells His disciples, and He tells us today, Amen, I say to you, no one who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or mother or father or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times full more in this present life and eternal life to come. 

So, it is a great encouragement He is giving us. No matter what we give away, He is going to give us a hundred times back. No matter what sin he asks us to let go of, He will give us a hundred times back. No matter what sacrifices He is asking us to make, He will give us a hundred times back in this present life and eternal life to come. So, He looks at you with great love. You are His beloved. You are His disciples. He wants to show you the way to the kingdom of heaven. He wants to reveal to you God’s ultimate and master plan for the creation of your lives. In looking at you with love, He sees and knows your potential. He knows what you can do if you but follow Him in this world, and for us, that might seem impossible. Maybe there is something He is asking you to give up, and you think you cannot give that up. I cannot let go of that. 

The important thing is do not to walk away today sad because of what He is asking. Just keep looking back at Him with those loving eyes and let Him guide you. Let Him show you that whatever you give up for His sake, you will inherit not only eternal life but a hundred times more in this world.

I invite you never to stop looking at Him. Look at Him with love. Let Him look at you with love, and do not ever walk away sad. Do not ever turn yourself away from Him because of doubt or discouragement. Share it and say, “Lord, I do not know how I am going to give this up. Lord, I do not know how I am going to do the thing that you are asking me.” You will find that He will reveal to you the way. He will show you the way. He will lead you on the way, but do not walk away sad because, as we heard at the very first part of the Gospel, Jesus was setting out on a journey. Where was He journeying to? The cross. So, He invites all of us to journey with Him to embrace the cross in our lives. To trust that even if we die, even if we let go, even if we give everything up for Him, as long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He will bless us in this life, and we will have eternal life to come.

I invite you to close your eyes for a moment after this homily and to ask Him from the bottom of your heart, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And let Him look at you with love. Try to see His face as He reveals His plan for you.