First Reading: Jdg 2:11-19
Gospel: Mt 19:16-22
Today’s Gospel has been central to my personal journey. A few months before all of this started, I wallowed in what I called my dark place. Found in this place were all of my insecurities, jealousies, resentments, and addictions. The jealousies consumed me the most – why don’t I have this, why don’t I have that.
Materialism and pride consumed my life back then. I wanted to move out. I wanted a new car. I wanted to be rich. I did not want to do what I was told. I wanted to be like my rich friends.
The anger that emanated from not having what I wanted, I turned inward. And anger turned inward turned into depression, and depression turned into suicidal thoughts.
When I decided to make a change it was still motivated by selfishness – I just wanted to get into the best shape of my life. I never planned on involving God in my plans. By then, I’ve stopped praying and going to Church.
But God truly works in mysterious ways. In my quest to lose weight, I met someone who invited me to join a weekend retreat. And that was when this journey started in earnest.
The main theme of the retreat is today’s Gospel. Good teacher, what must I do? In my quest to have everything, I forgot that without God, I am nothing. If by some chance I succeeded in getting everything I wanted before I joined the ministry, I would have become a horrible person (not that I was a saint back then.) Having proven to everyone that I was successful on my own, I would have abandoned my family and started living in excess, like the Israelites in today’s first reading.
In the six months since the retreat, I have learned the value of surrender, not only of my problems, but of my material concerns as well. Someone once told me that if I’m pushing too hard to make something happen, then it means I’m not ready for that something to happen to me. If God feels I am ready for the responsibility of what I am asking for, He will bless me. But more important is to build responsibility, and that should start with me.
God asks us to surrender everything to Him, because in this way, we can focus on doing the things He wants us to do. To do the right thing. To help others. To inspire people. To grow in faith. To be strong and courageous.
We are so burdened by our wants that we misconstrue what we want for what we need. If we surrender all of our concerns to Him, it frees us to address what we need. What we need, above all, is to live a Christian life. This treasure is worth more than all of our material possessions, because it doesn’t fade away or get broken. Its rewards are far-reaching than whatever material possession – we build relationships, we inspire each other, we can change the world around us because of it!
Our treasures are our rewards from God for doing the right thing. These are blessings that should inspire us and empower us to do more good. In our prayers, instead of praying for the newest gadget, or for that cute girl at work to notice you, surrender them all. Pray for opportunities to be faithful. To be strong. To be courageous. To do the right thing. If we do what the Lord wills us to do, He will reward us, in leaps and in bounds.
“Jesus said to him: ‘If you are willing to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.’ (Mt 19:21)”