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Sunday of the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time ©

Scriptural Readings: Wisdom 18:6-9; Psalm 33:1+12, 18-19, 20-22; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19 or 11:1-2, 8-12; Luke 12:32-48 or 12:35-40

My dear encountered couples:

“Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be.” Then Jesus tells a parable to illustrate this point.

We often find Jesus teaching by means of parables and by making comparisons. He wants his listeners to understand his teachings by relating them to things and experiences they are familiar with. If Jesus were walking through the cities of the United States doing his teaching, I have no doubt that at least once he would compare life to football. Football? I can feel some of you perking up — and I can hear some of you groan. Yes, football season is fast approaching. But symbolically, isn’t it always here? Don’t we live the game every day?

I believe we all have a fairly good idea of what football is about. Whether you enjoy it or not you have been exposed enough to understand the object of the game - to get the ball across the opponents’ goal line and score more points than they do.

How easy it would be for a team to get that football across the goal line if there were not another team facing them and trying to keep them from doing it. It would not only be easy, but quite boring. Who would want to watch a game like that? Or even play in one? It might help out in practice, but overcoming opponents is what gives the thrill and sense of accomplishment. The winners glory in their triumph. They have overcome the strength and skill of others. The losers? Do they really lose? Only if they quit when the game ends. But if they analyze the plays, learning from their mistakes, observing the good in the tactics of the winning team, they can become better and more prepared for the next game.

What is the most important thing in the winning of a football game? Getting the ball across the goal line! To do that, though, requires many things: running, passing, kicking. But sometimes running in the opposite direction is called for, drawing the opponent with you, then side-stepping and dashing toward the goal while your opponent is off balance. Other times, passing to one of your team members behind you or lateraling the ball before the run for the goal is attempted. Many plays and maneuvers are required to outwit the opponents and get that ball to the goal.

I would say that in football there is one final end or goal with many intermediate goals of gaining a few yards. These yards are necessary before being able to cross the final goal line. Life is like that. So, life is similar to a football game.

What is your major or final goal of life? What is the most important goal for you in life? Heaven! By that I mean developing to your full maturity as a human being and entering into a complete, perfect union of love with God and with all people in him. We must keep this in mind. This is why we were created, why we exist. To enjoy God’s life and happiness forever with him and with all people.

To achieve your final goal there are other things that must be done. There are many intermediate goals, many accomplishments, many experiences that you must learn from, that must take place before crossing that final goal line into heaven. And you cannot just remain a spectator in the stands. You must be a player on the field, on the field of life. You must do your part. Sometimes you help others to carry their ball, other times they help you. Then there are times you must carry the ball on your own. Though God is always helping you, it will seem to you that you are alone. You will be bruised and hurt, maybe severely. You will fail one time and succeed another. Learning from your own failures and successes and those of others, you continue on toward your final goal. You become stronger and braver. You improve and develop. The toughness of life matures you.

Sometimes you will forget your final goal because the many intermediate ones, the ones that must come first, are occupying your time and attention. There is education, a job, the single or married life. There are clothes, cars, food, friendship, pets, vacations, many things of varying degrees of importance that occupy your time and thoughts. All these are good as long as they are helping you to get to your final goal - Heaven (your maturity and union with God and people). But if they become the end goal themselves, then they can be destructive. If you lose sight of your final goal and become bogged down in the smaller ones, you just might lose.

Any legal play of the football player is good as long as it helps to get to that goal line and victory. But if the player becomes so occupied with all the running and passing and maneuvering that he forgets to head for that goal line, then all his efforts are for nothing. And so it is with you. All your activities, all your education will amount to nothing if they become an end in themselves and you forget that they are only a means to the real end, the real purpose and goal of life.

The football player’s treasure is beyond that goal line. His heart is set on attaining it. All his actions aim him in that direction. Is your treasure beyond your goal line? Are all your thoughts and actions aiming you in that direction? How often do you even think of the real purpose of life and set your sights on attaining it?

I have heard it said that what a person spends most of his time thinking about is really what he treasures. That is where his heart is. Find out what you think about most. Take several days, a week, a month. Keep track of what you think about during the day. Write it down. Then at the end of maybe a month you will know what your treasure is - what your heart is set on.

Hopefully, both will be in the proper place. But I’ve seen football players lose their sense of direction, run the wrong way and cross the wrong goal line. You don’t really want to do that. And so, remember those words of Jesus, “Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be.” And eventually, that’s where will we be - FOREVER!!!


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