Thursday, June 18, 2015

Store Up Treasure in Heaven

By Colleen O’Sullivan

Brothers and sisters:  Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast.  To my shame I say that we were too weak!  But what anyone dares to boast of (I am speaking in foolishness) I also dare.  Are they Hebrews?  So am I.  Are they children of Israel?  So am I.  Are they descendants of Abraham?  So am I.  Are they ministers of Christ?  (I am talking like an insane person).  I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death…  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.  (2 Corinthians 11:18, 21-23, 30)

Jesus said to his disciples:  “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.  The lamp of the body is the eye.  If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but, if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.”   (Matthew 6:19-23a)

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the Lord.
(Psalm 34:2-3a)

Every day I read the latest offering from the blog “People for Others.”  Yesterday, the subject was Denzel Washington’s commencement address at Dillard University in New Orleans.  One of the thoughts he offered the class of 2015 was:  “You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse: ‘I don’t care how much money you make, you can’t take it with you…’”

We may pray with the psalmist for our souls to glory in the Lord, but many of us live like we’re glorying in our material possessions or other types of worldly treasure like pride or an inflated sense of self-importance that will cease to matter when we take our final breath.  I once had a roommate who told me with the utmost sincerity that her car was her prestige.  How sad, I thought.  The first ding or fender bender and there goes her self-worth…

St. Paul was on the right track.  He suffered greatly on his missionary journeys.  He was no masochist, but when he took stock of his life, it was all that he endured out of love for Jesus Christ that counted as his treasure.  His wounds and scars might have looked like weakness to the world, but they were signs of his great faith in the Lord and his zeal for the Gospel.  Because they tied him to Jesus and the Cross, they were the things of which he boasted.

We have just started the process of cleaning out my parents’ house in preparation for selling it.  My mother has been gone for almost four years and my father is in assisted living.  Jesus’ words about not storing up treasures on earth ought to be framed and hung on the wall for us to read and remember.  58 years of possessions from basement to attic.  This will not be an easy task.  Among the more interesting things that have turned up are two passport-sized booklets belonging to my maternal grandparents – their membership books for “The Purgatory Society.”

Jesus says the eyes of our hearts will fill us with light if our hearts are full of lasting treasure.  On the other hand, if our hearts are filled with the sorts of things that moths, time and decay destroy, we will walk in profound darkness.  What is it that you count as treasure?

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