Being Rich in What Matters to God

August 4, 2019

How do we define being wealthy or rich?  There are many ways to do that.  For some it is about the dollar, for others it is about retirement.  Many define rich by the number of close and fantastic friends that they have.  But being rich in what matters to God takes on a whole new direction.  How do we get to the riches of the Kingdom of God?  This is a lifetime journey and the reflection or discussion must really begin with our destiny.  When one defines riches with the number of zeroes after a dollar sign, one is led in that moment to the power and prestige it might give, or the level of comfort it might provide.  The richness of that lifestyle can provide a sense of comfort and something one wants to protect or keep safe.  While I am not condemning this reality, what Jesus is asking and challenging us with, is not about the things of this world.  He is inviting us to find riches not in security or comfort, but in the quality of life when the dignity of another is lifted up to his or her divine status.  So when we make our greatest priority the things that matter to God, we begin to make heaven and our union with God forever our highest priority and destiny.  When this becomes the lens we look through, our lives might change perspective.

What matters to God?  Having us spend eternity with Him matters the most.  How do we get there?  We begin to seek the wisdom of being in union with Him while we are on earth.  Where can we do that?  In the sacramental moments of our lives we have on earth the moment of union is found in the here and now.  How glorious is the experience when we receive the Eucharist, when we receive the Anointing of the Sick, when we pledge to forgive others and have been forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  These sacred moments allow us to touch, feel and taste the Divine.  What a glorious foreshadowing of constant union.  When we hold that thought and realize that this is the desire of God that all of His people, His flock should enjoy unity, we are then to live our lives putting into action those experiences that enhance the sacramental moments and lead us to a better reception of them.  After those unique, grace filled moments, we are to share them with the world.  What matters to God?  That we raise the life of another to his or her highest dignity matters.  How do we do this?  We roll up our sleeves and walk the walk.  We listen to the pain and suffering of others’ lives, not in order to change them, but to acknowledge it is a means to an end and not the end itself.

For some being rich in the eyes of God will mean helping the St. Vincent de Paul Society with a great donation.  For another it will be ringing the doorbell of a family in need and responding on behalf of St. Vincent de Paul to their situation.  Even though these are two different actions, both are lifting up the dignity of others.  Being rich in the eyes of God will be completely different for each and every one of us.  But what is common and what is foundational is we acknowledge our destiny that we are to love in union with God forever and do whatever it takes to get there.  For me, it is being a priest.  For others it is being a role model for the young, and for another it is raising a family with children.

I had the privilege to meet an elderly couple who used the Christmas tradition to become a place of radiant joy for their children.  At Christmas there were no boxes or presents under the tree.  Instead, there were just three white envelopes found there.  The number three came from the Epiphany gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  At the time of visiting and at the time of gift giving, their adult children opened just these three envelopes and in each of them was a note to a charity or the place where they were donating their Christmas gift.  This couple had much and could have filled many households with many things, yet three simple envelopes where all that was to be found for all of Christmas.  They took months searching for the recipients for their donations and the children could submit ideas, but the simplicity remained in the three envelopes on the tree and nothing under it.

Being rich in what matters to God is an individual process, yet when we look at our destiny, it gets less complicated.

May we all spend our time lifting up others to their God given destiny,

Reverend  John J. Ouper