What do you treasure the most? I’m sure all of us at our better moments will answer God, family, and others. Another way of asking this question is with a time management survey: where do I spend most of my time? While our answer to the first and second question probably won’t be the same, the answers do give us time to pause and reflect: where do I spend most of my time, my energy, and my passion? Do I spend enough quality time with God and family? Do I take time to listen to others and try to hear and understand what they are saying, thinking, and feeling? Do I listen to myself and hear God speaking to me?
Jesus exhorts us in today’s Gospel, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Where we spend our time and energy, there is our heart. Jesus has been teaching throughout the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:28) that true treasures in heaven come from knowing and doing God’s Will: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
St. Francis of Assisi interpreted the Gospel by action. At times he interpreted the Scripture in too literal a sense but through doing so he came to a deeper understanding of the Gospel and God’s will. In a similar way you and I can come to know God’s will by doing what we see Jesus doing in the Gospel. Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus welcoming all people, especially the outcast of society, visiting and healing the sick, showing compassion and forgiveness to all, and showing humility as He washes the feet of His disciples. By imitating Jesus’ actions, we come to have deeper insight into God’s will and way as we store up treasures in heaven. Sometimes, like St. Francis, we may find we are taking Jesus in too literal a way and miss the deeper meaning of His teaching and actions. So, don’t try walking on water, it probably won’t work!
We do not need these treasures in heaven to earn God’s love and forgiveness or to earn our way into heaven. These are given to us as a gift, a gift we can either accept or discard. Jesus invites us to accept this gift and to live as gifted people: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up treasures in heaven.”