19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 7, 2016
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
These days many Americans are experiencing financial insecurity or wondering where a safe investment might be that actually provides a decent return. Yet it is true that even if we succeed in finding such an investment, we cannot hold onto our possessions, our wealth, or anything else in this world that seems to promise security; but, in fact, offers only a temporary one at best.
Jesus strongly advises us to make sure we are investing wisely, that is, investing with him. Every alms or tithe or sacrificial giving, every act of charity toward another, every unseen kind action or time spent in a work of mercy is like putting a great quantity of wealth in the “bank of heaven”, where our Lord promises it will be safe and pay handsome returns forever! Who could pass up an offer like that? Well, many of us do because we are too attached to the things of this world and don’t think enough about the things of heaven.
How do I know where my treasure really lies? Here are some ways to check it out. What or who do I habitually think about? Am I a generous person or stingy? Do I practice both planned and spontaneous giving? Where do I spend most of my time and money? What proportion of these belong to God or my family?
What things do many people yearn to possess? What comes to mind immediately are wealth, status, prestige, being noticed, being thought well of, being healthy, being beautiful or handsome, to have lots of stuff or gadgets, granite countertops, a new 3D TV; the list is endless. In all honesty, we usually want these things because we think they will bring us happiness or security; and then, after we obtain them (if we ever do!), it isn’t long before we are out shopping again!
Christ offers us a better way and that better way is called detachment. Whatever I am blessed with in my life is meant to be shared with others and this very act of sharing brings us untold wealth in this world and the world to come. If I find very precious things have been taken away from me lately, how angry have I become about it? Am I able to give this over to God who can restore all things one day? Christ warns us not to worry excessively about possessions and the stuff in this world at the expense of the concern we ought to have about the world to come. The Lord may come at any time and when we walk through that door, everything we did not send ahead stays here to be divided among others!