19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.
Most people, whether they may be experiencing financial insecurity or instead have investments and are seeking a safe yet decent return, yearn for more. Yet, 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 nothing of the kind. Everything we have is borrowed. Like a monopoly game, we put the money and the game pieces back in the box in the end.
Just as in last week’s gospel, Jesus once again strongly advises us in our gospel this weekend to make sure we are investing wisely, that is, investing with him in the midst of our earthly pursuits. Every alms or tithe or sacrificial giving, every act of charity toward another, every unseen kind action 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.
What types of things do many people think is real treasure? Wealth, status, prestige, to be noticed, to be thought well of, to be healthy, to be beautiful or handsome, to have lots of stuff, granite countertops, a new 8K TV, well, the list is endless. Fill in the blank yourself. In all honesty, we usually want these things because we think they will bring us happiness (however fleeting) or security, and perhaps they do for a while; and then, after we obtain them (if we ever do) we begin to desire the next big thing.
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 planned giving? Where do I spend most of my time and money? What proportion of these are God’s? What is my reaction to the inevitable reverses of life? Faith or despair?
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.