Where Your Treasure Is, There Also Will Your Heart Be

Week of August 7, 2016

What are the passions in our lives?  What do we love?  Where is our heart leading us?   There is no one answer.  For some it is to visit every baseball park in the country.  For others, like my oldest brother, it was to visit every state in the union and to visit national parks along the way.  For some it is to see the great cathedrals of the world.  There often times is a difference between what we do and where our passions lie.  I think over the years our passions change.  As a newly ordained priest, I longed to change the world.  Over 55 now, I see how I must change and that comes with lived experience.  I once was all about the third world and visiting Israel, I loved the Middle East.  Now I am a more cautious traveler.  My baseball card collection is intact from the days I would buy the cards and hope to complete my set with the money I earned each week cutting the grass.  Now I know you can order the complete set for cheaper, direct from the card company.  Someone recently told me about how treasures change in your life once the vacation is over and you unpack from the trip.  What you thought you could not live without has no special place in a home already filled to capacity.

So what is real treasure?   I believe that treasure is connected to wisdom.  As I reflect on some of the greatest moments that I treasure, they are experiences, sometimes very much alone, between myself and God, some are experienced in the midst of others and still others are shared with family and friends on life’s journey.  These experiences feed me, nourish me and become the source of my history which I rely on to give me the confidence and courage to trust God’s goodness.  I love Israel and have been blessed to have celebrated Eucharist in many chapels and churches.  One of my favorite is in the Garden of Gethsemane.  It is a humbling place.  Celebrating Eucharist in Rome at the Basilica of St. Peters with my parents; that was special.  Going to Africa and seeing the third world first hand was magnificent.  What is the common thread?  I was humbled by what I saw.  Treasure humbles us.  Our heart reaches new heights and depths and breadths when we are overwhelmed.

Celebrating the Sacraments is a place I find total peace.  Always I am humbled that I get to witness what God is doing.  I used to think before I was 50 I needed to grasp hold and be a consumer of as many experiences as I could.  Now I know it is not about consuming, rather it is about surrendering to what God wants us to experience.  Only three things remain, St. Paul says, faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.  May the treasure we seek find itself in the things that will last an eternity.  Find those.

Rev. John J. Ouper