Monday, August 19, 2013

“Give and it shall be given to you.”

'The best remedy for dryness of spirit, is to picture ourselves as beggars in the presence of God and the Saints, and like a beggar, to go first to one saint, then to another, to ask a spiritual alms of them with the same earnestness as a poor fellow in the streets would ask an alms of us.' - St. Philip Neri

Gospel Text: (MT 19:16-22)
A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
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.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

What do our possessions provide for us long term? Do they satisfy our desire for happiness and security deep down? Do possessions prevent us from giving ourselves whole-heartedly to God? Do we serve our possessions instead of serving the Lord?

Possessions make us comfortable in the short term but can not give us the kind of peace and happiness that we all desire. True peace and joy here on earth can only be found in doing God’s will. This applies to all us, whether we acknowledge God or not. God the Father made us for himself and until we accept that concept, we chase our tails looking for “something” that simply does not exist. No other treasure here on earth can compare with the Lord. Everything materially we “own” gets old and in time we simply lose interest.

Sometimes our hope for happiness gets misplaced in materialism. Jesus challenges our attachment to earthly possessions today in the gospel. Jesus challenges us to contemplate what our greatest treasure is truly. When you get right down to it, the “thing” we most set our hearts on is our greatest treasure.

This story below has been on social media for a few years. Whether or not authentic, I thought it spoke well to today’s readings at Mass:

An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that, as one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said: “UBUNTU: how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

'UBUNTU' in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are.”

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