We have been in our present home here in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida for just about twenty years. This summer we are in the midst of house renovations. It is amazing how fast time has gone, but also how much updating our house needs! We have been tearing up rugs, sealing leaks and filling cracks in the floor, dusting, spackling, sanding, and painting. We have realized that we have been weighed down with that which we gathered, saved, and held on to more than is necessary and have begun to purge. In the same time period our three children have all grown and are now all living in California. Also, on a sadder note our three Golden Retrievers are no longer with us, JoAnn’s mother and two of her aunts, and all of my grandparents have also died.
This is not meant to be a Debbie Downer of a reflection this morning. These opening thoughts are just a practical assessment of the first section of our Gospel from Matthew this morning:
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” (Mt 6:19-21). Jesus is helping his disciples to be aware of the reality of our world. All that exists is finite and material. Each thing, each being, has a beginning and an end. We need to resist the temptation to be attached to anything, even to our family and friends, because in this life nothing lasts forever.
The danger with not placing attachment in material things is that we may be drawn to the opposite extreme of placing no value in created things, thinking that we can destroy and abuse the environment, because it will not last anyway. We can also be tempted to see all things not spiritual as corrupt and bad, even our material reality as human beings, such that our soul is imprisoned until we die. This extreme will not bring us happiness, joy or fulfillment either.
Today may we seek to live a balanced life of recognizing that all that is material and finite has a time and a season, while at the same time is part of God’s plan. May we seek to be participants in God’s eternal plan of salvation, enjoy the wonders and gifts of his creation, but resist being attached to them beyond their time. In this way, we can resist holding on and clutching to the material and finite, so to be less apt to be weighed down by them and freer to embrace the steady move of the Holy Spirit, who is leading us to change and to mature in our relationship with our loving God and Father and one another.
Knowing that our time here on earth is limited, may we resist taking one another for granted or worse belittling, demeaning, and dehumanizing one another. Instead may we empower and show greater appreciation for each other. May we strive to be present and accompany one another. May be kinder, more supportive, and encourage one another. May we let go of attachments so that we may let those petty things go and embrace the love that Jesus inspires us to live, so to be there for one another through thick and thin.
May we set our sights on the promised land of heaven, embrace the truth that we are called to be co-redeemers with Jesus, so that we may help and be there for one another now in this life as we journey together so to “store up treasures in heaven where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal” (Mt 6:20).
CN grads heading into the summer to store up treasures in heaven!
Link for the Mass readings for Friday, June 22, 2018: