Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time, August 19
As We Look to the Faith Which We Hold So Sacred, May We Rightly Live in Our Everyday Life the Desire to Possess the Only Treasure Which Truly Satisfies the Deepest Longings of Our Heart and Soul.
“If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” And the Gospel tells us that the young man “went away said, for he had many possessions.”
Decades ago, when I was a young man running one of my businesses, in ignorance I prided myself on the many material possessions which I owned.
At that time in my life, if our Lord had appeared to me and said, “…sell what you have and give to the poor”, I would have most likely reacted the same way as this young man did in today’s Gospel, for I, too, “had many possessions.”
The material attractions which exist in our world today are very strong. Many people who end up winning one of the large lotteries ultimately find themselves cash poor in just a couple of years, for they spent all their winnings on material things which have no lasting value.
Now, I am not saying that there is anything inherently wrong with a nice home or a nice car or a nice boat or nice clothes, as long as we don’t find ourselves losing our souls over material possessions. For when we begin to place material objects and our possession of them as a way of living our life, then THEY become our gods, and we become a slave to them – and we begin to find ourselves becoming no better than the Jewish people who lived during the days of the Judges about which we read in today’s First Reading.
When we fail to recognize that the true Treasure of our lives is God’s Loving Presence within us, then we become like those about whom we read in today’s Responsorial Psalm, “They served their idols, which became a snare for them…They became defiled by their works, and wanton in their crimes.”
It is so important that each one of us remembers that we are special in the eyes of Almighty God! And that, out of His immeasurable Love for each of us, throughout all generations – from the very beginning during the days of Adam to the very moment when that last infant is to be conceived and born – God sent to us His Son for our redemption.
His Son’s mission was to teach us about His Eternal Father – about His Love, about His Mercy, and also about His Justice. And then, the Eternal Word, who freely took upon Himself our flesh for our sake, willingly embraced a horrific death for each and every one of us, so that His faithful children may be given that most wondrous of all gifts – eternal life in His Heavenly Kingdom, for His Sacrifice forever mended the fractured relationship which existed between God and man due to the sin of our first parents.
Is it any wonder that our Lord suffered so deeply during His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, for He could see the untold number of His children in all the generations that would follow who would reject His Sacrifice on the Cross?
Many years ago I remember one of my children telling me about a conversation she was having with another woman. My daughter was inviting her and her family to attend Sunday Mass. And this woman’s response was, “Why should I go and sit with a bunch of hypocrites?” It was her justification for turning her back on our Lord and not spending quality time with the God who gave her the gift of life and the invitation to spend her eternity with Him.
In my way of thinking, there is always enough room for one more hypocrite, for each of us – no matter what our station in life may be – in all true reality, ARE ALL sinners. We are a Church of very imperfect people!
And what did our Lord say to the Pharisees? “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” For each of us is in need of God’s Mercy. We are each in need of God’s saving grace.
This lady had missed the whole point of community worship. It is within the assembly which gathers wherein we find the Presence of the Living Christ Himself. And it is together with His Living Word, and in the actions and words of the Priest, and in the Eucharist itself, in which we find the fullness of Christ – inviting each one of us into a closer and a more intimate communion with our Creator, our Savior and our Sanctifier.
And is this not the True Treasure, God’s Loving Presence, which we should be possessing, or at least striving to possess?
The people in today’s First Reading had lost sight of this True Treasure. And in their obstinacy and pride, they suffered defeat and being despoiled at the hands of their enemies, all because they gave themselves over to idolatry, worshiping false gods and rejecting the God of their fathers. They had chosen to turn their backs on the Love of the One True God.
Jesus said to this young man today, “…come, follow me.” Are you and I ready and willing to give up everything which separates us from the Love of God, so that we may possess the only Treasure which truly matters, the only Treasure which lasts for all eternity?
Our Lord’s call to each one of us today, and every day of our lives, is the call to live and embrace the virtue of selfless love – to put aside anything that would constitute an obstacle to living the Kingdom of Love here on Earth.
As we look to the faith which we hold so sacred within our hearts, may we rightly live, in our everyday life, the desire to possess the only Treasure which truly satisfies the deepest longings of our heart and soul.
With the help of God’s grace, may He keep us free from all inordinate feelings of discontent, possessiveness, greed and selfishness.
And may we come to believe and rejoice in the firm knowledge and enduring faith that Jesus is our only True Treasure both here on Earth and in the everlasting life to come! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” (Matthew 19:21)
- “When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Matthew 19:22)
- “The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They served the Baals, and abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the one who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed other gods, the gods of the peoples around them, and bowed down to them, and provoked the LORD.” (Judges 2:11-12)
- “They served their idols and were ensnared by them…They defiled themselves by their actions, became adulterers by their conduct.” (Psalm 106:36, 39)
- “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
- “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
- “For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
- “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.” (Matthew 16:26-27)
- “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment…” (Acts 3:19-20a)
- “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
- ” (John 5:25)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Prayer for the Day
“Eternal Father in Heaven,
when Your strength takes possession of us
we no longer say, ‘Why are you cast down, my soul?’
Let us feel the healing calm of Your forgiveness
as You nourish us with Your Loving Presence.
“Inspire us to yearn for You always,
like the deer that longs for running streams of fresh water,
until You satisfy our every longing in Heaven.
For it is only there that my thirst shall truly be quenched;
It is only there that my every desire shall truly be realized.”cf. Psalm-prayer (Roman Breviary)