Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Treasure in a Field

This Sunday's gospel has a lot packed into a small space. One of our priest friends is the only son in a family of three. His two sisters are married and caring for their children and husbands. When their Dad passed away, it fell to the priest son to clear out the family house and sell what remained. It took Father a long time, hours of emptying closets, drawers and the basement. His father had a way of stashing cash around the house. Father J. called his sisters who needed house repairs and disposed of the "hidden treasures" in a short time. One of our young Sisters who will soon pronounce her first vows wrote a practical piece on her blog about storing up earthly treasures. It is OK to put money into a savings account, to plan your funeral so family does not have to worry. Yet, I have seen with my own eyes what happens when some people inherit unearned money. In one family, an aunt died leaving several thousand dollars to two nieces and a nephew. The nephew squandered all of the inheritance on drugs; the other two quit their jobs, also lost their money. One of them divorced her husband. Rather than money granting happiness to those three, the ill use of it led to a lot of misery. You are probably saying, "I am so in need, I would never squander thousands of dollars." Good for you! However what I wrote really happened. Some of the happiest people are those who have nothing, or have very little. I am thinking especially of vowed religious men and women. I remember walking to early morning Mass on a frigid morning in downtown Philadelphia. A woman in front of us pressed a dollar bill into the hand of a woman huddled near a steam vent on the sidewalk. As we passed the lady wrapped in a blanket, she looked up and said "I didn't ask her for money." From her expression we could tell that she had no desire for money. She may have been mentally ill, but she showed no desire for even a little wealth. The Sister whose blog I quoted gave up a well paying job. Her boss was ready to offer her a higher position in her job, in addition to the handsome pay she was already getting when she told him she was leaving all to enter the convent. As we like to say about our salary: "The pay is out of this world!" A young priest I know had a great job, and a Porsche to prove it. He found another treasure, the call to the priesthood. He left it all to serve the People of God as a parish priest. Father is happy with his new life fueled by prayer and effort. Christ is the center of his life, the treasure that he literally sold all to find. May you find Christ as the treasure of your life. Then despite ups and downs in your life, your heart will be secure. Don't take my word for it. Take the Gospel's word:
Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.

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