What Do You Treasure?
There has been a series of fascinating articles coming out over the past few weeks. These talk of technologies that I predicted almost twenty years ago would be appearing on the scene. Yet, again I was right.
The technologies are the alchemy of the 21st century. Alchemy, you may remember from your high school chemistry classes is the pseudoscience of trying to create gold from chemistry. Today, we realize it is impossible because gold is an element and not a compound.
The alchemy of today is to create human life for all eternity.
I read of a political party in England which also has US counterparts who are trying to create eternal life through technology. The spokesperson added that he understood that many religious people would not be interested. Of course not.
When Jesus is offering us eternal life in Heaven, when he is offering us what St. Irenaeus taught being fully human and fully alive, why do I want to extend my life here for all eternity? I look forward to the day I encounter Christ face to face. Why do I want to delay that moment for whatever this world can offer me? I know that what this world can offer at its best, is nothing compared to what Christ offers me at any time.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us one of the best proverbs for us to determine how our faith-life is going. Where your treasure is, there your heart is always. Where is your treasure? Is there anything that you treasure here on Earth that you treasure more than the desire to be with Christ in Heaven?
Personally, for me: No! Nothing. No money, no status, no fame, nothing. That does not mean that I do not like those things, but if you gave me a Faustian bargain and promised me everything, provided I gave up my desire for Heaven, I would say no. That is because what Heaven offers is far more valuable that all the valuables of the world combined, period.
We have had an interesting week and people have been concerned that our country is even further divided. Clearly, as I said a couple weeks ago, we are not far from 1968. There were the two shootings last week and of course there have been others over the years. I am not going to discuss statistics, politics or compare presidents. Let us look at the reality itself. Why do such shootings happen? They are rooted in an alienation from receiving all this world has to offer. Several over the years were caused by men who complained that they could not get a girlfriend. Others because they felt alienated from society.
I am sure these things also are the causes of many other things such as drug abuse etc.
What can lead people down that path? In their frustration and in their delusions they see no alternative to the world we are living in. If their lives bring alienation then they see no hope and get lost in their despair and delusion. They will get upset because they feel that the world has passed them by and they lost out on what it promises.
There is a world famous atheist, I am not allowed to mention names in a homily, but I will tell you he is my least favorite atheist. There are some great people in the world who are atheists and there are some, just like in any other demographic who are clowns and he is one of them.
Because he does not believe in God, he dismisses those who suffer as people who lost the life lottery. What a stupid statement. This is how many of these shooters feel, embracing that very philosophy and forcing people to pay with their lives for their suffering because the atheists philosophy gives them nothing to treasure and offers them no hope.
However, if you look at what we believe, we understand that the founder of our faith is the symbol of someone who lost the life lottery. Then he won the salvation lottery through his resurrection. He leads us to the same salvation.
Many of the saints suffered terribly for their faith, but they would not have given it up for a second if their suffering would have caused them to lose salvation, even if they were guaranteed eternal life on Earth. Why? Because they knew that what Jesus promises is far greater than everything the world promises combined.
Further, do you really want to spend eternity on Earth dealing with a someone who sees your suffering as your loss in the life lottery? I would not.
Often, I taught Confirmation students to reflect on how much believing in eternal life actually gives you. It gives you a hope beyond anything this world can offer no matter what happens. This is powerful.
Obviously, I deal with people who have lost a loved one, and the first issue they will ask me is “Will I see them again in Heaven?” What is their greatest treasure, seeing their loved one when they are both in Heaven.
This is a good week to reflect upon what you treasure most, where you can find it and what you will do to get it.