Sunday, July 31, 2022

Only one thing to fear. And the one treasure you can take with you (Sunday homily)

 The readings could not be clearer.

So much of we think is important will fade away.

“Vanity of vanities…”

The stock market rises and falls.

Our physical bodies will eventually fail.

 “Vanity of vanities…”

Instead, as Paul encourages each of us: 

Set your hearts on what is above!

A priest I know was explaining about death to some schoolchildren, 

and he said something striking:

So many of us are afraid of death—

But not one of us can escape it. 

And he said, so what about death!

All death can do is take our bodies from us;

Otherwise, death can’t hurt you and me!

Meanwhile, sin can hurt us—

It poisons and kills the life of God in us, 

and that will separate us from God forever.

Yet, how many people aren’t afraid, at all, of sin.

Again, as Saint Paul said:

Set your hearts on what is above…

There’s a saying: “you can’t take it with you”—

but that’s not exactly true.

No, you and I can’t take money or any other stuff with us.

But there is one treasure you really can take with you, 

and it is the most valuable: other people!

If each of us makes it to heaven, the greatest joy—

beyond the supreme joy of being with Jesus Christ, 

in the Love of the Father and the Holy Spirit—

will be seeing all those who helped bring us there…

and all those you or I helped bring to heaven.

And we will see the faces of people we never knew—

but who we prayed for…

We’ll see the child, whose mother we helped 

when she was in trouble, and needed food or shelter…

You will see those you had the courage to tell the truth to: 

Helping them reject what was wrong,

Or who you invited to come back to confession and Mass.

When I was in my 20s, I was away from my Catholic faith,

And a coworker invited me to come on Ash Wednesday.

And I did. That wasn’t the only reason I came back – 

but it helped, and here I am!

Who will you and I see in heaven, 

who we didn’t know we were bringing with us? 

That is God’s Treasure, which you and I can store up,

and never lose, but have forever.

1 comment:

rcg said...

Brilliant. I have pondered and struggled with that passage and was finally able to reach some form of understanding while reading it again in Latin. The same form of debtor is used as for the ‘trespassers’ in the Lords Prayer. It is comforting that I may be on to something.