My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
When Jesus walked this earth, wealth was considered a sign of God’s favor, God’s blessing. Yet, Jesus came to undo what man had made to point us to God alone, for possessions do not make a wealthy person. What does the image of wealth mean for us? It may mean that we are secure. We have enough. We can live day to day. This type of wealth, as Jesus teaches, is about things. It is not about the richness of the treasure of heaven. But, how can we be secure then? In Mark’s Gospel, the rich man has everything and yet he still has a feeling of emptiness. Jesus’ response is that we must place our trust in God. All things are possible for God.
Where do we start in this conversion from reliance on things to reliance on God? We start with prayer. In prayer we acknowledge our limits and dependence upon God’s grace, and then God accomplishes something in us beyond our power to do on our own. God gives us wisdom to see the hollowness of those accumulations of things and converts us to understand the true treasure of His love. It becomes a question of not what, but who is in our life and how we relate to the people with whom we live, or encounter at work or school, or in the grocery store, or on the street. Then we “sing for joy” as the Psalmist of Psalm 90 proclaims because we have opened ourselves to be filled with God’s love.
During our journey through the pandemic, what has God taught us? He has taught us about the treasure of each other. When the hurricanes and floods came, what is it that the people cling to? Their families, their neighbors. When the building collapsed in Miami, what is it that the search teams sought? Not things, but people. Jesus teaches us we are valuable, in and of ourselves because we are of God. We are the imprint of His being.
Knowing this we come before the Lord in the Sacrament of the Eucharist and receive Him to become His Presence on the earth. The Eucharist gives us what we need to know – all things are possible for God – because we are His people to serve Him on earth. We are a blessing. Everything we have then is a blessing from God, from our rising to our sleep, we return to God what He has given to us in every measure.
We use our time or our resources to help the poor for we are His mercy every day. We minister to and pray for women in crisis pregnancies because we bring God’s compassion to them. When we mow the grass for our neighbor or help someone with placing groceries in his/her vehicle or help a friend with his/her studies, we do this as Christ serves us. When we volunteer at our church, we immerse God’s people with holiness.
Living as Christ is not a momentary offering. Through the Eucharist, this living is 24/7/365. We cannot objectify our living. It is not living in Christ that we volunteer lovingly one moment and then shout profanities via a Facebook post. Every second is a holy moment as we are called to be.
The Eucharistic Prayer during the celebration of Mass opens with a three-part dialogue present since at least the early third century. After the opening exchange, the priest prays, “Lift up your hearts.” We respond, “We lift them up to the Lord.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem speaks to how this prayer draws our attention away from worldly distractions, “Lift up your hearts. For in this sublime moment the heart should be lifted up to God, and not be allowed to descend to the earth and to earthly concerns. With all possible emphasis the sacrificing priest exhorts us in this hour to lay aside all the cares of this life, all domestic worries, and direct our hearts to God in heaven who hath so loved men.”
All things are possible for God. May our heart, mind and soul be for God.