Sunday, July 30, 2017

Seek the Treasure -- Mary will help (Sunday homily)

There are times when what our Lord Jesus said in the Gospel 
doesn’t need very much explanation. Today is one of those days.

You and I know what the treasure is that he speaks of. 
He, himself, is that treasure. In one parable, 
the fellow stumbles upon it; and that happens to us. 
Sometimes we are going along in life, 
and a crisis or an illness changes changes everything, 
and we suddenly that how thin and worthless 
are things we used to chase after.

In the other parable, 
only after a long search does the merchant finally discover 
the pearl worth having. A lot of us have spent our lives 
looking for meaning, and we try everything. Nothing really satisfies.

The treasure is Jesus himself: knowing him, and being with him.

But here’s the thing Jesus wanted to make very clear, 
so he repeated it: you and I don’t just pick up the treasure; 
someone doesn’t just give us the pearl. 
Everything goes on the line. It takes effort and full commitment. 
We trade in everything else we value.

Lots of people know God exists – and they believe Jesus is the Messiah. 
They think believing in God is a good thing. 
Lots of parents figure that having some religion in the family, 
exposing their kids to some faith, is good for them, 
sort of like exercise and fresh fruit. 

But that’s not what Jesus was talking about in the Gospel. 
He’s talking about going all in.

Only when we really put something on the line, do we really know him. 
Not know about him, but knowing him. That changes everything.

Here’s the really good news: you and I don’t have to search. 
We know where the treasure is. Jesus is right here, in our Faith, 
in our Scriptures, in the Sacraments, in the Holy Eucharist; 
he is as close as our own hearts.*

This Friday evening, we have a special opportunity to draw close to him. 
Every First Friday, we have Mass at 7 pm, and after that, 
we have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 
We have a group of folks who are keeping vigil, all night, 
until Mass on Saturday morning. 

That means the church will be open all night, 
and anyone can come and pray. 
We have been doing this for several months, 
and the focus is to draw close to the two hearts: 
that is, the heart of Mary, and the heart of Jesus. 

Mary conceived Jesus in her heart by faith, 
and then in her womb by the Holy Spirit. 
Mary’s heart is like that field: 
the treasure of Jesus’ heart is hidden there for us to discover.

As I say, we do this every month on the First Friday. 
Yes, this is the Traditional Latin Mass, 
so that will be unfamiliar to some. 
But we have booklets you can use to follow along.
And after all, what did we just say: that seeking Christ takes effort; 
we don’t discover the pearl of great price easily.

This First Friday we will have something special: 
a statue of our Lady of Fatima, blessed by Pope Francis, 
one of several traveling the world, 
as a focal point of devotion and prayer. 

We will honor Mary in a special way on Friday evening – 
you can see the details in the bulletin – 
and we will renew the consecration of this parish to our Lady, 
which I know Father Amberger made some years ago.

Now, there are a lot of ways to look at this. 
It’s First Friday and First Saturday, 
and there are devotions and indulgences associated with that, 
as promised by the Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque 
and promised by Mary to the children at Fatima. 

In addition, this is the 100th year since Mary visited Fatima, 
and through her visit, God set great things in motion. 
While the end of the Cold War was a tremendous confirmation 
of what Mary told us at Fatima, there is a sense that there’s more. 

We don’t know just what, but we can plainly see 
there are forces at work in our world that are anti-Christ 
and anti-Church, and we know what Mary said: 
in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph. 

Mary is the one chosen by heaven to bring the Messiah. 
And today is a good time to remember what Mary said at Fatima: 
"If men knew what eternity is, 
they would do everything to change their lives." 
To give everything – to have the Pearl of Great Price.

So this year seems like a powerful time to turn to Mary, 
and ask her to help us turn back to her Son.

But in the end, it’s all about the treasure 
that Mary doesn’t hide from us, but rather, holds out to us constantly: 
her Son, our brother and our Savior and Lord. 
He is what we long for, and what is worth giving up everything to have.

* Update: the words in a different color were added at Mass.

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