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Jesus Is Our Treasure
Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the course of his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.” He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for the opportunity to come before you in prayer. I need this time with you. I desire to know you better, love you more, and trust you more perfectly. Help me to be receptive to the lessons you wish to teach me. I also bring to this prayer the souls you have entrusted to my care.
- Missing the Mark: “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues… They will receive a very severe condemnation.” In a mysterious way, God seems to let us have what we most desire. Therefore, we must choose well. Sin in Hebrew signifies “missing the mark.” If we choose something other than God it will “miss the mark” of our truest desire, namely to be with God. The punishment for this begins immediately as people experience the dissatisfaction that pursuing their idols brings. Money, fame, power, and pleasure for their own sake will never permanently satisfy us. May we choose God here and now so that sin-induced self-satisfaction does not follow us perpetually into the afterlife.
- Giving Your All: “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury…. she… has contributed all she had….” While material wealth is by itself not bad, it can easily create the illusion of security. People can rely on their money to solve problems and conclude, “Who needs God?” The poor widow in the Gospel had the spiritual freedom to let go of her material goods and to trust in God. She also had the generosity to share what little she had with God and others. Our Lord asks us to imitate her abandonment to Divine Providence. “With God, the more one seems to lose the more one gains. The more he strikes off of what is natural, the more he gives of what is supernatural” (Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence).
- Jesus Is Our Treasure: Often the sacrifices required of Christians seem harsh or demanding, especially when we look at what we lose instead of what we gain. When a young man proposes marriage, he is not principally considering the sacrifices marriage entails; rather, he is exuberant about sharing his life with the woman he loves. Similarly, when we discover Jesus, when we fall in love with Jesus, the sacrifices we make to follow him pale in comparison with the joy experienced. This is why St. Paul could write, “More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8). May we never forget that Jesus is our treasure and our security.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, at times, I am tempted to rely on things other than you: my talents, my money, my popularity, etc. Help me reorient myself so that all the people, activities, and things in my life draw closer to fulfilling my mission. Help me to trust unreservedly in your Providence, so that I may experience the joy and freedom of giving with generosity.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take a brief inventory of my closet to see what I can donate to charity.
For Further Reflection: Read 6 Rules of minimalism according to the saints.
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