August 11, 2019 - 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the continuing theme from last week, Jesus again offers us instruction on how best to focus our lives so that we do not worry about earthly things, but instead focus our concern on the kingdom of God, share what we have with the poor and “Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be.”
That last statement is a good one…if what is most important to you (what you treasure, what is your treasure) is GOD, and the kingdom of God, your heart will be focused on God. If, however, your treasure is earthly things like money and belongings, your heart will be worried and focused on those things. You will constantly think about money…you will constantly want more and better things…you will always be afraid of not having these things...you will not think about the less fortunate and you will not be concerned with the Kingdom of God and your own preparedness for the return of the Lord.
Release your worry on earthly things, and instead focus on God’s work and God’s ways. Those who have been blessed with that knowledge will have greater expectation placed on them by God. If, like in the parable, you know exactly what your master wants you to do and you do it, then when he returns, you are rewarded and praised. If you know what the master wants but grow bored waiting for him to return and stop doing what the master wants, then when he returns and finds you not doing what he asked, he will not reward you, but will scold you, and punish you. We can all see the correlation between attending to flocks and farms in “the masters” absence and what we are supposed to be doing during the physical absence of Jesus. He will come at an hour we do not expect and we need to be found doing what he asked and awaiting his return. Prepared.
"Find us ready, Lord, not standing still. Find us working and loving and doing your will. Find us ready, Lord, faithful in love, building the kingdom of mercy and love." from "Find Us Ready" by Tom Booth
Do not dwell on the punishment aspects of this reading but instead focus on the important point made by those statements “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Is this any different than how we manage the liberties and responsibilities of our children? Do we not instruct them of the great responsibility they are being entrusted with when we allow them to drive? Do we not scold them and punish them if they, knowingly against our will, do not live up to that responsibility? If you KNOW the will of the LORD, much will be expected of you because you have been given a great responsibility in that knowledge.
We know the will of the Lord by reflecting on the Word of God AND putting those lessons into practice in our lives. We strengthen our faith and our ability to do the will of the Lord through our daily prayer, and when we release the worry about the necessities of life and focus our hearts on the treasure that is real and lasting, which is the Kingdom of God, then we will receive the promises of Christ Jesus, our reward for being a good servant, when we share in the Kingdom with Christ Jesus. “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”
The Psalm this week is Psalm 33: Blessed the People the Lord Has Chosen to be His own.