It is great to be back home to St. Mary's after my vacation. I had a wonderful vacation with my family. I saw family in St. Paul and St. Louis and then witnessed the Sacrament of Marriage for some good friends in Memphis, TN. A beautiful time but it is good to be back. We are awfully close to the school year now, only 11 days away. We all start preparing, getting our backpacks, binders, pens, pencils, crayons, and calculators ready. We know that it is coming, we know that on August 23rd, Roncalli Catholic schools will be full and busy again. But what of the unexpected? The unknown in the midst of the familiar, the "normal."
The unknown can be the most exciting and informing of places. On my trip back from Memphis I entered the unknown, the unexpected.
I don't consider myself a world traveler, but I have flown quite a few times. As I've flown, I've listened less and less to the pre-flight instructions. I apologize to any flight attendants who are with us. But once you've learned about seat belts and oxygen masks and flotation devices and exits behind you, you pretty much know it all. Or so I thought.
Somewhere amongst turning off my cell phone, getting out my iPod, and opening my book, I heard: "In case of an emergency evacuation, leave all carry-on luggage behind."
"What!? But this is my STUFF, I need this STUFF. Maybe I'll just grab my backpack, it should fit snug and I can still run, right? I mean, come on, I ran with a backpack all the time in grade school, I can make it off of this plane. Silly flight regulations. They obvious don't understand how much I need this STUFF." Though I didn't say that out loud, I felt rather justified in my stance.
Then I read this week's Gospel as I prepared for this homily. Flight safety zipped right out of my head.
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Oh boy. That hit right in the gut. Not so much in the stomach, but inside where my pride and self image reside. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Look at all of you here at this Mass. You show your heart by being here, with Jesus in the Eucharist. Such a beautiful August day, you could be at Wiley Park or the water park, or golfing- but you are here, you chose to be here at Mass. What a gift! What a witness to your treasure, your love for Jesus.
As we try to witness to Jesus, our treasure, we sometimes make mistakes. We sometimes don't treasure Him as we know we should. So what do we do when we fail to treasure Jesus? Do we just shrug and keep going? Do we keep on ignoring our treasure? Jesus gives us a warning against ignoring our treasure, against trudging on in our mistakes. "You must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."
Just as much as the start of school is expected, consistent, the return of Jesus will be unexpected. Whether we meet Our Lord in the Final Judgment, our individual death, or in moments of conversion- "the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour." So we live our lives in anticipation of our Lord's return, focused on Him who we profess to be our treasure.
Let us pray at this Mass for ourselves and for our loved ones, that they may focus their vision on Jesus- the only true and lasting treasure- and so hear Him cry out in joy: "Well done, my good and faithful servant! Receive your Master's reward."