“For where your treasure, there also will your heart be” (Matthew 6:21).
This past Sunday’s readings point out the futility of placing the good things of the earth before the good things of God. Much of what the world has to offer is good, but if it is not at the service of the kingdom of God it can lead to disorder and confusion.
Jesus Christ came into the world to show us how to live in relationship with our Heavenly Father. He came not to do his own will, but the will of the One who sent him. Our vocation and our happiness are also realized in our faithfulness to God’s Will as He has revealed it through the Church and the Scriptures. We cannot just do what we want; we must be faithful to His plan.
So, what is His plan?
We must love God with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength. There can be nothing more important in our life than our relationship with God. This relationship depends upon our daily commitment to prayer and faithfulness to the Gospel. If we love God above everything else, then we will be able to love ourselves and our neighbors because he is the source of all love and everything good. This demands self-denial on our part and generous use of the gifts God has given us. Because this life of self-denial and generosity does not come naturally to us, Our Lord has given us the Church and the Sacraments as the source of grace we need to live a supernatural life. We can only be faithful to His plan with His help.
If we would have the humility to learn from Biblical history, human history, and our personal history, it should be obvious that when we insist on doing things our own way with no regard for the Will of God, we end up experiencing personal and social unhappiness, confusion and hopelessness.
The Evidence of God is Perfect
Let’s take a look at the world we now live in. Why are the number of those who do not believe in God, or at least reject religion, growing as never before and the number of Christians is decreasing? Pope Benedict XVI addressed this issue when he said one of the biggest concerns of our time is relativism; people refuse to believe in objective truth and choose instead to follow what suits their lifestyle and ambitions as if God does not exist. When Bertrand Russell, a famous atheist, was close to death, a friend asked him, “When you die, if you see God, what will you say?” He said, “I suppose I would say, “Sir, why didn’t you give us more evidence of your existence?”
He can be discovered in the beauty of his creation, in his divine revelation, and in the testimony of the witnesses who believe in him. Of course, it does require a certain amount of humility to allow revealed truth to have priority over what at first glance seems logical. However, our faith is logical for those who believe in divine revelation.
We have the lives of the saints to show us how every circumstance can be conquered by a deep faith and trust in God. All of the saints experienced severe trials of many different forms, including martyrdom for some, and yet they were filled with peace, joy, and hope. When we stay connected to God through daily prayer and the sacramental life we will experience the help of his grace in our time of need, as he promises. When we seek God’s will instead of our own, we will be given the wisdom to recognize his providential care.
Be Focused on Heaven
Many years ago, during our door-to-door ministry at St. Matthew Catholic Church, my wife Mary Jane and I visited a woman who was experiencing the advanced stages of cancer and was in much pain, and yet, she said she thanked God for the cancer because she was now connected to him through prayer and the sacraments. She said if she would have died earlier her soul may have been lost. This is what it means to be focused on heaven and not the world.
Deacon Tom Fox, K.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.