Earth’s Treasures Are Heaven’s Junk
Homily for Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Preached on June 18, 2010 at Holy Spirit Parish/The Newman Center at the University of Kentucky, Lexington KY
Readings: 2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20; Psalm 132:11-14, 17-18; Matthew 6:19-23
Something happened to me after I had to move three times in three years: I got tired of packing and I started throwing out things that I would not have thought of discarding three years before. Perhaps the hassle of packing and moving finally forced me to sift through the junk that I had been keeping and identify the things that I truly treasured. I found myself asking, “Do I really need these? And, if I think I do, do I really want to risk breaking my back carrying them to my next assignment?”
I would like to think that God sends me so often on the move so that I will remember to ask myself those questions. Yet, as soon as I stay in the same place for more than a day, I find myself collecting clutter all over again. I suppose that storing stuff somehow creates this illusion of stability: I get fooled into thinking that, because everything in my life changes, I need to have something to show for myself. I forget that earth’s treasures are but Heaven’s junk, that none of the things that I prize so much today will matter at all for eternity. So, the Lord keeps admonishing me to stop storing up treasures on earth that moth and decay can destroy, that thieves can break in and steal (cf. Mt. 6:19), that when packed and moved can break my back. He reminds me that He had made me to be more than just a pack-rat.
In the end, when I make that final move across the threshold of death, I know that the Lord will spare me from the trouble of packing. I will pass from this life naked and empty-handed as the day I was born. None of what I have will come with me; nothing but my works will accompany me (cf. Rev. 14:13). Perhaps, that is why the Lord keeps reminding me to clean up my act while I still can. He wants me to continue storing up that treasury of good works, the only treasury worth pre-shipping to Heaven (cf. Mt. 6:20).