19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading: Wi. 18:6–9

The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers, that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage. Your people awaited the salvation of the just and the destruction of their foes. For when you punished our adversaries, in this you glorified us whom you had summoned. For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.

Second reading: Heb. 11:1–2,8–19

Brothers and sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God. By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age—and Sarah herself was sterile—for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy. So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.” He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Gospel: Lk. 12:32–48

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

In other words

Fr. Jose Honorio P. Mateo, SVD (Paraguay, South America)

“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” I like this verse! It made a deep impression on me when I heard it for the first time. All the more so now, it strikes me as something profound. It makes an immediate impact and stirs something deep within. Is my heart in the right place? What do I value in life?

A story is told about a plane that crashed in the sea. Fortunately, the rescuers were able to save all the passengers of the aircraft. Interestingly, one of the survivors remembered that his suitcase was left inside the plane. Right away, he jumped from the rescue ship and swam toward the plane to retrieve his suitcase full of precious jewels. He found his suitcase. Sadly, the plane sank to the bottom of the sea with him and his treasure.

Where is my heart? What is my treasure? Health is wealth, family is a priority, and a faithful friend is a rare treasure. We should have all these in our treasure trove. The Gospel today proposes two other treasures that we should all seek, find, and hold dear.

The first treasure is the kingdom. “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk. 12:32). The kingdom of God is “an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace” (Preface of Christ the King). This is the treasure that leads to other treasures. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33). Our greatest treasure is the kingdom of God.

The second treasure is the poor. That may come as a surprise but the Gospel today says, “Sell your belongings and give alms” (Lk. 12:33). That is a clear reference to our service to the poor and to one another. Remember the story of St. Lawrence? When Valerian in 258 wanted to confiscate all the wealth of the Church, Lawrence presented the poor and told the emperor, “These are the treasures of the Church.” When we serve those most in need, we find Christ himself. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt. 25:40).

Today is the feast day of Saint Cajetan. He is the patron saint of the unemployed, job-seekers, and bankers. Son of a nobleman, he worked as a Vatican diplomat, became a priest, and founded a religious congregation, hospitals, and a bank for the poor. He found the treasure and had his heart in the right place.

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