22 October 2018

What matters to God

29th Week OT (M)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Dominic Church, NOLA

Paul reminds us that we were once dead in our sins; that we once lived among the disobedient in the desires of the flesh; and that we were all “by nature children of wrath.” Now, we are living, obedient children of God. How? How did we go from being Children of Wrath to Children of God? “For by grace [we] have been saved through faith. . .” By trusting God and receiving His gift of mercy, we are saved. What does our transformation tell us about what matters to God? It tells us that God is merciful. That it is not His will for us that we live in the darkness of sin. That He loves us despite our transgressions. And that He is willing to abandon His justice in order to show us His mercy. What matters to God is that we are brought back to life through His Christ. That we are raised up with Christ and seated at the harvest table for all ages so that “he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace to us. . .” This is what matters to God. Not gold or stock options or trophies. What matters to God is that we see the “immeasurable riches of his grace to us” and that we in turn share these riches with those who have yet to see them. 

Confronted with an opportunity to serve as an arbitrator in an inheritance dispute, Jesus refuses and says to the gathered crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” We can take this to mean that wealth does not make a life. That possessions are as likely to possess as be possessed. Jesus is teaching us that poverty is the better way to holiness, a remedy against the capital sin of greed. But does he mean inherited poverty as in being born into a poor family; or, does he mean evangelical poverty as in choosing to be poor for the sake of the Kingdom? He could mean both! Because poverty – whether inherited or chosen – strips us bare of pretensions, exposes us to self-examination, and submits us to the judgment of the world so that we might be witnesses to the “immeasurable riches of his grace.” For by grace we are saved through faith. If you believe that this is true – that we are saved by grace through faith – how do you show the world and share with the world the riches you have received through Christ?

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