Your Treasure? Reflections of Two RC Women Priests for the 19th Sun in OT, 8/7/16
“Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Luke 12:34)
Have you ever said to a loved one: “I treasure you”? or “what a treasure you are!” or “You are my treasure”? Or looked at the setting sun, or a field of yellow daisies and thought “this is my gold”; or looked at a child or a friend or a loyal pet wide-eyed with joy and said “this is a moment to treasure”? Has your heart ever been moved to tears at witnessing the tragic plight of another,especially one with few resources? And has this empathy catalyzed you into action to help or be there for that one or that community ? To grow in discipleship, a heart full of love and a stomach full of fire for God’s beautiful struggling people and stumbling creation is our real treasure.The kingdom/kindom of God is also the treasure we seek to build. It is build with love and a passion for justice and inclusion.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Luke 12:32-48, Jesus continues to instruct the disciples on how to build God’s kingdom/kindom-where God is in charge and God’s family is continually built. We are not to be afraid as our loving Father/Mother God has given us the kingdom/kindom where , like yeast in a loaf of bread causes the loaf to rise (Luke 13:20), a world of love, enough for all, and justice and inclusion is catalyzed. To catalyze as disciples, to be this yeast, to bring on this kingdom/kindom–God’s family- Jesus tells the disciples not to worry about their own basic needs which will be met, but to give everything in service : “sell your possessions and give to the poor.” Loving those who are in need including those poor in material goods but often rich in love and relationships will be our treasure: “Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Luke 12:34) Jesus asks us to invest our hearts and total selves in the building of God’s kingdom/kindom- and to do that wherever we are-to bloom as disciples right where we are planted, to be careful stewards of God’s world and God’s people.
Pope Francis reflected this week on Zacchaeus, the short of stature wealthy tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus in Luke 19, and who, after meeting Jesus was changed to a person who repented of cheating others and gave away half of his possessions to the poor. Francis reminded a vast crowd of a million and half young people and their companions at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland to remove obstacles that keep us from seeing and hearing Jesus. To love the selves we are no matter what shape we are in, to risk looking foolish if need be, and to let criticisms of faith run off their backs in order to see and serve Jesus. In doing so we also find joy and the deep love of God. Jesus says that here in this Gospel in somewhat different words as well: treasure the right things,that which does not perish, starting with your one precious life and the lives of all others in creation, and you have found your treasure. AMEN.
Some of our Treasures:
And now for the inspirational Homily of Dr. Beverly Bingle of Toledo, Ohio:
I went down to John XXIII for Bible Study this past week,
and the thing that became clear to me
from the participants’ comments on today‘s readings
is that they make a distinction between faith and religion.
For them, faith comes from the experience of God’s presence,
is the way we remember, express, and celebrate
our experience of God.
That first reading from Wisdom tells about
the Jewish people’s experience
of God’s presence as death passed over them
and they were freed from slavery in Egypt.
They had experienced God’s presence before.
They had seen God’s promises fulfilled before.
So they trusted, and they headed out into the desert.
And they still, today, celebrate the Passover,
remembering the experience of God-with-them on the way.
Then there’s the letter to the Hebrews—
not written by Paul, by the way—
that letter remembers
Abraham and Sarah’s experience of God’s presence.
They didn’t know where they were going to end up.
They didn’t know they would have offspring.
But they trusted
because they heard the voice of God
promising good to them.
And in Luke’s Gospel
Jesus calls his disciples
to trust that God’s reign is open to them.
He tells them to sell their belongings and give to the poor,
that where there treasure is, their heart will be.
He tells them to be alert for God’s presence with them,
like servants waiting for a master’s return.
And he tells them to trust that God is with them.
Jesus’ disciples were Jewish,
so they are tuned in
to the memories of God being with their ancestors.
But those disciples were young adults
in a culture where people lived—
not to the age of 30 or 35,
which was the average life expectancy
because of the high rate of infant mortality—
but as Psalm 90 tells us,
many lived to the age of 70 if they survived childhood,
to 80 if they were strong.
They questioned the rituals of their religion
just as today‘s young adults do…
just as those young supporters of Bernie Sanders
question our political system…
just as our generation
found a gap between God and our church
as we grew into our late teens and early 20s.
Those disciples of Jesus
experienced the presence of God
in Jesus’ word and example.
They understood his honest assessment
of hypocrisy in governmental and religious leaders.
Raised up in a tradition that told them
about Abraham and Sarah hearing God’s voice
in the three travelers to whom they extended hospitality,
they were open to hearing God’s voice
in Jesus of Nazareth.
Like Abraham and Sarah,
we can’t foretell our life path.
We literally don’t know where we’re going.
At that John XXIII Bible Study
person after person
talked about the turning points in their lives,
the people through whom, and the events through which,
God spoke to them,
compelling them to make life choices
for love and justice and compassion.
They talked about being raised up in our tradition,
with all its rules and regulations,
then coming to an experience that brought them
to embrace once again the rituals by which
we remember and celebrate our own experience of God
and connect it to the generations of faithful
who have gone before.
The documents of the second Vatican Council
helped many of our generation
to mend the fraying connection with our faith history.
For today‘s young people, sadly,
that connection is too often broken,
buried by clerical hypocrisy.
More and more, people are describing themselves
as “spiritual but not religious.”
The Luke who told the story of Jesus
in words that his community understood
has few counterparts in today‘s hierarchy,
though they do exist in theologians
like Elizabeth Johnson and Ilia Delio
and scripture scholars
like Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Raymond Brown.
Many of us here in Toledo
have experienced the pastoral theology of Fr. Jim Bacik,
telling us the story of Jesus in everyday language
and suggesting ways
that we can listen to the voice of God in our lives.
Over the years he has revived the faith of countless people
by bringing cutting-edge Vatican II theologians to speak here.
Because of him and people like him,
we grew to become spiritual
at the same time that we learned to practice our religion
as an expression of, and celebration of,
our own experience of God in our lives.
In some ways, it’s a sad time in the history of our church,
with its ongoing sex abuse cover-up,
pre-Copernican language in the liturgy,
and misogynistic rules,
but it’s also a glorious time, too.
God continues to speak to us,
and we answer.
We hear God’s voice telling us
to spend our lives changing the systems that oppress the poor.
We hear God’s voice calling us to reduce-reuse-recycle
and to plant those seedlings.
We hear God’s voice telling us to work for justice and peace.
We hear God’s voice calling us along the way,
and we keep going
because we trust that God is with us.
The reign of God is indeed at hand.
Glory be to God!
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006