TWENTY EIGHTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
The Sunday Scriptures
Jesus continues to teach the demands of discipleship to the Apostles through the question of the rich man who does not seem to respond, at least in the account as we have it, to the demand of the Lord. Discipleship requires detachment, total commitment and discernment. Only through this can abundant reward be expected in return (Mk 10:17-30). The second half of the Book of Wisdom (6:1-9:18) sings of the divine origin of Wisdom, the guide of kings and rulers. Words are put into the mouth of Solomon to describe the result of his prayer for wisdom, a gift of the Lord, needed for discernment about earthly gifts and values (Wisdom 7:7-11). This clearly builds upon the tradition of Solomon’s reply to the Lord in his dream at Gibeon where he asks for a ‘listening heart’ (I Kings 3:4-15). The Letter to the Hebrews has one of the most powerful descriptions in the Scriptures of the Word of God, always alive and active (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Gaudium et Spes Part II: Chapter 3 Economic and Social Life (63-72) 
Chapter 3, Part II, examines the issue of Economic and Social life and after an introduction giving some characteristics of economic life today, has two sections. Firstly it looks at economic development, with subsections on economic development under human direction and an end to excessive economic and social differences. Secondly it looks at some principles governing economic and social life as a whole, with subsections on work, working conditions and leisure, co-responsibility in enterprise and in the economic system as a whole, including labour disputes, earthly goods destined for all, investment and money, ownership, private property and large estates and finally economic and social activity and the Kingdom of Christ. The focus is clearly stated at the beginning: ‘In the sphere of economics and social life, too, the dignity and the entire vocation of the human person as well as the welfare of society as a whole have to be respected and fostered; for man is the source, the focus and the end of all economic and social life.’ (63) In other words, economic systems such as communism or capitalism, although not mentioned by name here, are not the centre, but the human person. Above all, there is a clear reminder that there needs to be fairness. ‘God destined the earth and all it contains for all human beings and all peoples so that all created things would be shared fairly by all mankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity. (69)
Jesus teaches that detachment – not merely from earthly riches – is necessary for the disciple. This mirrors a major thread of the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament that true happiness and riches are found by seeking the Lord and being attached to him. Gaudium et Spes examines the conditions for economic and social development that enhance both the good of the individual and the community. The individual needs to recognise his/her responsibilities to all, but society needs to promote the dignity of each human being.
Points for reflection
- What measures so we take to try to pursue a life-style that reflects the detachment of the disciple?
- How do we actively seek to be wise?
- How do we promote ‘justice tempered by charity’ in our parish communities?
Canon Mervyn Tower