Sunday, August 1, 2010

Just what does matter to God?

"If we could comprehend all the good things contained in Holy Communion, nothing more would be wanting to content the heart of man. The miser would run no more after his treasures, or the ambitious after glory; each would shake off the dust of the earth, leave the world, and fly away towards heaven." - Saint John Marie Vianney

Gospel text (Lk 12:13-21): Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus, «Master, tell my brother to share with me the family inheritance». He replied, «My friend, who has appointed me as your judge or your attorney?». Then Jesus said to the people, «Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life».

And Jesus continued with this story, «There was a rich man and his land had produced a good harvest. He thought: ‘What shall I do? For I am short of room to store my harvest’. So this is what he planned: ‘I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones to store all this grain, which is my wealth. Then I may say to myself: My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself’. But God said to him: ‘You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you; tell me who shall get all you have put aside?’. This is the lot of the one who stores up riches instead of amassing for God».

Today, Jesus places us facing what is fundamental in our Christian life, in our relationship with God: to get rich before him. That is, to fill our own hands and heart with all kinds of supernatural and spiritual goods of grace, and not of material possessions.

This is why, in the light of today's Gospel we can wonder: what do we fill our heart with? The man of the parable saw it quite clearly: «Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself» (Lk 12:19). But this is absolutely not what God expects from his good sons. The Lord does not want our happiness to rely upon legacies, banquets, last model cars, exotic holidays, estates, our armchair, beers or money. All these things may be good, but they cannot satisfy per se our yearning for the plenitude of our souls, and, consequently, we should employ them only as the means they simply are.

This is the experience of St. Ignatius Loyola's, whose celebration was yesterday. This is how he admitted it in his own auto-biography: «When he thought of worldly things, he delighted in them, but when he gave them up, dead bored, he felt sad and empty; when he thought, instead, of the penances he observed in the just men, he felt solace and comfort, not only in that very moment, but even afterwards, he felt contented and cheerful». And this can also be our own experience.

Because material and earthly things become outdated and expire; but, spiritual things are eternal, they last forever and are the only ones that can fill our heart and give a meaning to our human and Christian life.

Jesus said it very clear: «You fool!» (Lk 12:20), this is how He qualifies those who only have material, earthly and selfish aims. Let us beg we may always present ourselves before God, at any time, with our hands and heart full of our efforts to seek our Lord and to look for what it pleases to him, for this is the only thing that will take us to Heaven.

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