WITH ST. MARY'S
THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
At death you cannot take your possessions with you.
EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Materialism has become the religion of our age. With the amount of physical possessions and distractions available to us on a daily basis, we can easily replace the sacramental life with spending time with our things. However, materialism is ultimately about serving yourself, while detaching yourself from your possessions allows you to serve others, making yourself available, and prioritizing relationships over self-interest. The message for this Sunday is quite simple: remember that all of your possessions will eventually be left behind. It is better that you foster a tendency of detachment from material things now so that you have nothing tying you to this world when your time has come to leave.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus speaks often about treasure. The Christian life as it relates to material riches has always been a difficult subject to address; on the one hand, the poor are blessed in a way that the rich are not because they do not experience the same distractions. On the other hand, Jesus clearly teaches that riches and treasure have their appropriate place, both in worship of God and in serving His kingdom. Ultimately, though, poverty is the path by which we can most closely emulate the state of human beings in heaven; in union with God, we have no material possessions because we do not need material possessions. Our treasure is what God provides for us, in this life and the next. Therefore, it is crucial that anything God has decided to permit us to have or earn in this life be oriented and reappropriated towards Him and serving His people, not just our own needs and desires. The reason Jesus talks about treasure so often is because he wants to emphasize that properly using the treasure given to us will allow it to multiply and to be used in even more ways to serve God and His people. If we hoard our possessions, either using them only for ourselves or not using them at all, we waste the instruments we have been given to expand the kingdom of God on earth. As Paul tells us, think of what is above, not of what is on earth. Just as Qoheleth alludes to in Ecclesiastes, you will most likely not taste all the fruits of your labor. Rather than letting it go to waste, allow your treasure to be used to serve everyone, not just those who foolishly seek it for pleasure.
Family activity to do at home: As children grow up, it seems that their natural tendency is selfishness. This could be due to two reasons: concupiscence, which is the remnant of Original Sin that leads us to Actual Sin, and the fact that a mother and father serves all of their needs. Regardless of who we are in life, though, there will come a time when the one whose needs are served for them becomes the one who needs to serve others. In this manner, true leadership and true authority flows from serving others. If you want your children to become virtuous leaders in the future and if you want your children to want to succeed in all areas of life, you must foster the tendency to serve the needs of others while they are still young. The activity below is an informative article about why we should teach our children to work for others, because in the long run, being selfless is best for everyone.