For He had Many Possessions

For He had Many Possessions May 27, 2024

We all know the parable of the rich man who comes to Jesus and asks, “What must I do to merit eternal life?” to which ultimately, Jesus tells him to go and sell what he has and give to the poor so as to build up treasure in heaven, and to come and follow him.  We don’t know if the man who went away sad because he owned much, recognized the caling to which he was being offered.  Maybe he went home and thought it over and returned.  It’s possible.  Perhaps he shut himself in his barn and counted his treasures and held onto them.

It feels like a lot of people are shutting their doors and going away sad.  When we fail to be faithful, when we fail to be generous, we make the world less happy and we should go away sad.  I can’t tell you how many homilies feel like dissuasions to the comfortable sitting in their pews to consider whether or not they ought to be giving more than they have.   Jesus talks about money and the enslavement to money, and the difficulty in escaping what money blinds us to, namely the need for God, and the requirement we care for others, a lot.  He warns about placing one’s self in isolation through wealth a lot too.

So the question lingers on the heart, pricking at the soul –asking it, what will you give today?  A turnip?  A poptart?  A dollar?  Will you give a kind word?  A second chance?  A song of gratitude?  Will you recognize that each of us is the rich man, each of us on any given day, are offered the opportunity to follow Him.   Each of us also, often squander that opportunity in favor of routine, obligations, expectations, and comfort.  We like our relishes.  We want our big barns filled to the brim.  There’s only one response to our avarice if we’re honest with ourselves.  “But for Wales!”

Life is about surrendering one’s self to God, day by day, moment by moment and it’s hard because we’d rather, given our fallen nature, sit back and feel like we’ve done our part –whatever we’ve done –and even if we’ve done a lot, it is a drop in the ocean of eternity.   We are nothing but poor ungrateful servants who only did what was asked.  The reality of our faith is what we live today, not all of the yesterdays.   So all that we’ve done, is negated if we opt today to embrace sin and  all that we’ve done, is negated if today we opt to embrace grace.   The reality is true either way, and so we should choose life.

Which brings me back to my own heart, my own soul, and I must ask myself, what am I doing, and what does God want me to do?  It’s a question I’ve learned I must ask every day, not because I don’t know, but because I want to know better.  God wants to invite us into a deeper understanding of Him, and greater love of our neighbor.  It’s only possible if we assent.

When I asked God what He wanted of me at mass, the next day I received an email from my pastor asking me about a missionary leadership role in the coming year.  When I’ve asked in the past, job opportunities have appeared, and it felt like a big neon sign saying, “Sherry, look here.”  God is good at making it glaringly obvious because God knows, I need that sort of help.   So the challenge for you, is to ask God, “what is it you want me to surrender, if I would build treasure in heaven?”  Be prepared to be challenged by the answer.  Jesus always invites us to join him.  We have to decide, not to go away sad.

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