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August 7, 2016

Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Luke 12: 32 - 48

In the Gospel Jesus is speaking to his followers and gives them three important pieces of advice; Do not be afraid; Be vigilant; and do the Master's will. Central to these is the statement of Jesus, "For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." It is from this statement that this Gospel can be better understood.

It is important for us to ask the question; "where is my treasure?" The answer points us to where our hearts are. I've met people who have told me that they had a good job, but that there heart was not in it. I've also met people who describe their job, hobby or community project as something that their heart is really into. That well liked job, hobby or community project can be the treasure in someone's life, "for where your heart is, there also will your treasure be." Is God part of what we treasure? He can certainly be part of the things I like to do, and it can be out of my desire to live my faith that I get involved in various activities. I can treasure these because they bring me closer to God with whom my heart desires to be.

If God has little or no part to play where my treasure is, then my heart can be distant from God. If this is the case then the reading calls us to realign our hearts to a treasure in which God is present. The three pieces of advice can help us get back on track.

The first is, "do not be afraid." Numerous times throughout the Gospels Jesus tells his followers not to be afraid. If we are walking the path of the Lord and following him, we have nothing to fear. There are many ways in which fear can enter our lives, such as a fear of not having enough financial resources to support self or family, a fear of sickness, or a fear of being lonely and unloved. We can act out of fear and that can lead us away from the Lord. We can think that certain "treasures" will rescue us, and put our heart into searching for them. Do not be afraid, trust in the lord, and keep your eye on the treasure he has for us.

The second is, "be vigilant." Whatever our treasure is we can be sure that we are keeping careful watch over it. Most importantly we need to be vigilant over the gift of faith the Lord has blessed us with. This means not becoming lax in our prayers and observance of faith, not giving into temptation and allowing sin to enter our lives, but rather to be ever mindful of Christ in our lives and consciously working at becoming closer to him. It is keeping vigilant watch over the sometime fragile gift of faith.

Finally, we are to do the will of God in our lives. When we live mostly by doing my own will, somewhat selfishly, my will leads me to my treasure. This is not necessarily the treasure of the Lord. Be attentive to the will of God that we hear throughout the scriptures and the teachings of the Church. Allow these words to enter into our heart and mind and embrace them so that they become my will. Put the will of God into action in the numerous ways that we are called to live his will. We will find the true treasure of God, and our hearts will sincerely desire to possess this priceless treasure. By placing our heart at the center of our relationship with God, we will possess the priceless treasure.

Fr. Killian Loch, O.S.B.