I live in a modest, humble home in a suburb outside of Indianapolis. Sometimes when I drive through my suburb and the suburb where my church is located, I feel like I live in a closet compared to the mansions and estates that I see. The idea of possessing that amount of wealth is intoxicating. How would I feel if I had that much money? What would I do with it? If I am not mindful, I can get carried away and pretty soon I am filled with envy for that material and economic success.
It is readings like today’s first reading that remind me what is important.
“All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.”
Evildoing knows no monetary value. Temptation does not target one socioeconomic status. The rich and powerful are not any closer to knowing Christ than the poor of society. Actually, based off of popular media such as TV shows, movies, music, and the portrayed lives of the famous, with more money comes more temptation and more opportunity to get lost in vices.
We fool ourselves into thinking that money will solve our problems. Money will get me a better house, money will get me better clothes, money will get me a better phone, a better computer, …. The humbling words of scripture remind me to be humble. This song reminds me to be humble. And my cutting board in my kitchen reminds me to be humble.
“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
I seriously have a cutting board in my kitchen with that bible verse on it. I got it at a local Catholic gift store.
We do not need more money to better our lives. God gives us gifts every single day as opportunities to live out His glory. I think realizing those gifts and returning them to Christ is what truly fulfills us. When we know our strengths and we share them with other people, we are living full, authentic and genuine lives. We are living to our fullest potential.
Imagine a world where everyone used their strengths for the betterment of their communities and society. Imagine thousands of people doing what they are called to do, living out their vocations with joy, and truly embracing the gifts God has shared with them. We would transform communities, parishes, cities, states, and even the whole world.
This is why villagers in rural East Africa shine Christ’s light brightly. This is why brick factory workers in the capital of Nepal treat you as family and invite you in to eat and drink. The poor, downtrodden, forgotten, and invisible of society often smile the most, laugh the loudest, and greet you like a family member long lost.
When our lives are simplified, centered around our faith, and quiet except for the sounds of nature, we can hear Christ speaking to us. We can feel God reaching out to us, ready to embrace us as loved ones are embraced. We can see Jesus in the faces of our family and friends. We know Christ in the simplicity of life, in the stillness of prayer, and in the quiet of listening.
Still want to be economically rich, isolated on an estate, weighed down by the peer pressure of the wealthy and famous? Or do you want to meet Christ in the simplicity of life and the quiet of meditative prayer?
Today’s readings: Jeremiah 31: 31-34 | Psalm 51: 12-13, 14-15, 18-19 | Matthew 16: 13-23