This week Jesus has his famous encounter with the rich young man. And that story is so misunderstood it would take a book – so we only touch on it rather matter of factly below. In the context of the idea that all things are possible for God, one would think that if Jesus wanted the young man to follow Him, he would just command it.
But Love is the reason why He does not. In fact, His love for us and our refusal to let Him and to follow Him, is the reason that, while God can do anything, He doesn’t.
Annoying? Perhaps. Which is why in the dig deeper section there’s a fun activity that will annoy any of your kids or other people you want to drive the message home to.
All this and over a dozen free supporting resources, including the free download of the entire lesson, videos, podcasts, articles, and previous similar TWMWUs.
All Things are Possible For God
[will open a new tab or window].
Catechesis At Home – Twenty-eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year B
All Things are Possible For God
REFLECTION – God Can Do Anything
This week we could really have two separate discussions about the readings. One about what treasure we store up, and one about God’s omnipotence. But, we can bring these two seemingly separate themes together. God can do anything, even the salvation of the most lost sinner. That sinner is me. And probably you. We are all lost in some way, shape, or form. In some way we all have our focus on something or someone other than God. We might follow the commandments like the young man in this week’s Gospel. But, like him, there is something holding us back from complete abandonment to God’s will in our life. For the young man in the Gospel it was his physical wealth. The thing is, if we are attached to anything besides God, we have room for improvement. Even good things (like money, health, family, charitable works, and prayer), can become a detriment if they are not ordered toward God. Even though all things are possible for God, He won’t take away our freedom to choose to ignore Him or make him less than the most important part of our life.
The first reading expresses the author’s relationship to Wisdom, which when studied carefully we understand to be the Holy Spirit (go here for a much deeper exposition). The desire for God Himself is what we should be praying and pleading for (Wisdom 7:7). It is innate (CCC 27) in all of us; it is part of God fashioning us in His image and likeness. With God all things are possible, because He is the All Good, All Loving, All Knowing, All Powerful, Almighty. When we pray for His will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven (MT 6:10), we are expressing our desire and our faith in Him and His Goodness and our trust that God can do anything.
When we give up our attachments to everything and everyone else in this world, God’s grace makes it possible to see His plan and will for us. The freedom we find in Him is nothing short of miraculous when we [insert what holds you back, just as the wealth of the young man held him back and so he needed to sell all he had and give it to the poor], and follow Him (see Mark 10:29-30). That is the crux of the matter – it is not enough to do good things or follow the commandments or be generous with our time, talent, and treasure. We must FOLLOW HIM and stop following meaningless, short-lived gods. When we get them out of the way, we see that all things are possible with God.
It is important to know that Jesus is not saying everyone should give up their wealth or that being rich is bad or that rich people cannot go to heaven. He is telling this specific person to give up that which keeps him from following Jesus completely, which, as we see by the way the young man responds, truly is his wealth, which he holds in higher regard than he does Jesus. Whatever we consider more important or valuable to us than Jesus is our riches and is exactly what we must give up to be able to follow Him.
How do we get to heaven? Lucky for us, we are given instructions this week: follow the commandments, give to the poor, and follow Jesus. Sounds simple enough, so why is it so hard? Well, simple does not mean easy. Which is why our hard things, like all things are possible for God to help us overcome.
This life is difficult, no one argues that point. There is suffering and pain, struggles with relationships and money, unequal access to resources around the world and across the street. But, Jesus promises that God can do anything; because while there may be an unequal distribution of opportunity in our human made, fallen society, there is an equal distribution of talent from God. In the midst of the hardships, we can focus on Him and the promise of salvation. When we fail, we have recourse to Confession and the Eucharist for healing, forgiveness, and nourishment, as well as help from the Church – not necessarily the administrative parish, but the people of the Church, our neighbors – who can help us and whom we can help. And in that way, we are actually participating in and making all things possible for God to accomplish.
DISCUSSION – Can God Do Anything?
This week after Mass, ask yourself, your loved ones, or whomever you go get donuts with: What are my riches that get in my way of being Jesus to others?
Dad should lead the way asking this, and maybe Mom can provide something to get the answers from the kids going. Then Mom asks, followed by the kids. Be gentle and encouraging, offering ways to help each person give up their riches and see Jesus when that is moved out of the way. How do we feel when we don’t cling to a favorite toy or hobby, or insist on watching football all weekend? Then, how do we feel when we give those things a rest and see how others enjoy our presence, our time, or our sharing?
We cannot help our neighbors across the street if we cannot help our neighbor in the same house, so let’s start looking at our personal riches – our personal “jesus” – to know what we need to give up so we can better follow the Universe’s Jesus.
Talk about the resolutions you can each make, and what each of you can do to help the other keep that resolve. Start with something small, then review everybody’s progress each week, and then find bigger things to give up as your will and resolve strengthens.
ACTIVITY – All Things Are Possible For God Who Strengthens Me (See Philippians 4:13)
This week, do an examination of conscience with the 10 Commandments. There are several to choose from depending on where you are in life: adult and married, adult and single, teenager, child. Parents should help children by reading through the examination of conscience with them, explaining any unfamiliar words and helping them to learn how to do this important activity. And it is okay to ask, “Can God do anything?” God wants to forgive us, we just have to recognize our sins, confess them, desire to not commit the sins again, and ask for His mercy and forgiveness. Once everyone has done the examination of conscience, go to Confession as a family and receive the beautiful grace that will bring you to eternal life.
DIG DEEPER WITH OUR FUN FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITY – “All Things Are Possible For God” Can Get Pretty Annoying!
Tell each other during the week, “All things are possible for God!” (especially when you hear complaints about chores and homework!) and when someone says it to you, respond, “Alleluia!” Or others within hearing can shout out “Alleluia!” If you do this right, it should get to the point of annoying. A little fun payback for Dad and Mom…? And then, after that, it will become a source of laughter and fond family memories – proving that all things are possible for God!
LISTEN – We Talk About How All Things Are Possible For God in This Episode of Our Podcast, On The Road to Perfection
LEARN MORE – Other All Things Are Possible With God resources from Holy Owned and Operated:
Links open in a new tab or window according to your settings so that you can compare and continue in this lesson’s theme.
Page: Helping Anyone Grow in Their Catholic Faith
Podcast : Hope – Episode 1
Podcast: Love – Episode 30
Video:Fruits of the Spirit: Love
TWMWU: Glorify The Lord By Your Life
TWMWU: The Lord Worked With Them (Solemnity of the Ascension of The Lord)
Article: Why Doesn’t God Shout?
Article: The Mass Rocks of Ireland
Series: What is Love?
All Things ARE Possible For God – Is Something Stopping You From Believing And Seeing That?
How Did The Family Activity Go?
by Beth & Kristofer Cowles
Other Help on HOO
Why Does The Catholic Church Not Believe In Cremation? Beth and Kristofer do not accept the premise.
Does the Church discourage cremation? Sure.
But it also accepts the occasional necessity of cremation, and when chosen prudently it is not a sin.
But when done for the wrong reasons, it is a grave sin. No pun intended!
Listen to understand the nuances of the Church’s teaching on this sensitive and often gut-wrenching topic.