For the last several weeks, our Gospels have given us lessons on discipleship. Each lesson sheds new light on what it means to be a faithful follower of Christ. Many of the lessons, such as the one we hear in today’s Gospel, are difficult to receive. These teachings, however, are meant to challenge us, and to help us grow. They seek to give us an understanding of what is truly important in our life of faith. Today, they also challenge us to ask “where does our true treasure lie?”
Each of our readings today help us to answer this question. In the First Reading, we hear that wisdom is a far more valuable treasure than power and riches. Our Psalm reminds us of our need for God’s love and grace, and that we are entrusted to His care. Our Second Reading reminds us of the importance of listening to God’s Word. And our Gospel tells us that our true treasure is found not in our earthly possessions, but rather in the way that we care for others.
This teaching in the Gospel is at odds with the belief that riches and wealth are a sign of God’s favour. Jesus challenges this idea, and speaks plainly about how difficult it is for those who are rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Why is this? I think it has to do with the fact that wealth often gives a person a false sense of security and self-reliance. Wealth can cause a person to think that they can do everything on their own, without any help or assistance. Jesus, however, tells us that in order to truly enter the Kingdom, we have to be willing to let go of attachment to our possessions, and focus instead on the Gospel call to serve others. When we do this, we find that we inherit a far greater treasure in God’s Kingdom in Heaven.
Even as we inherit this treasure, It’s important to note that there will still be struggles as well. Jesus doesn’t promise us a life of smooth sailing: in fact, he reminds us that even in the midst of great blessing, there will be persecutions. It is only when we enter into eternal life in the age to come that we will know the fullness of joy and peace, and will no longer be subject to suffering and persecution. Until then, our challenge is to see those moments of suffering and persecution as reminders of our continual need for God, and his grace and blessing in our lives.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB