This weekend’s Gospel (Luke 12: 32-48) gives a simple message: “The Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.” Jesus is speaking to His disciples. He is ultimately speaking of heaven, as the text says explicitly in the next line. However, Jesus is also speaking of the founding of His Church.
“This little flock denotes the infancy of His new-born Church, and immediately He promises that through the blessings of heaven this Church will soon have the dignity of His kingdom. ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your father to give you a kingdom.’ ” (St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 22)
“Sell your belongings…Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Jesus is telling us the importance of not allowing material goods to ‘possess us’. He is also saying that we are to look at the Church as a true treasure, as it is the means of entering the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven. St. Peter Chrysologus in the same homily indicates that Jesus “wishes to enrich us by such advice, not to strip us. He wanted your goods to remain for you, not to perish. His order was that your purses should last forever, not get emptied out. He bade you to transfer them, not to lose them.”
As I read this Gospel, I could not help but think that Jesus was speaking rather clearly to Peter, not just in a parable. When Jesus says: 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? Is not Jesus the Master? Is not Peter the servant about to be placed in charge of the Church? to distribute the Food from Heaven, the Eucharist?
Truly, Peter was the faithful servant implied in the words of Jesus at the end of today’s Gospel: Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more. Yes, Jesus gave Peter much when He gave him the keys to the Kingdom. (Matthew 16:13-23) However, Jesus has given each of us unique gifts as well, and we are to invest these gifts in the Kingdom, beginning with the Church.
One of the greatest gifts we possess is our life. How well are we living this life according to the teachings of Jesus? Another great gift is the gift of time. Am I using this gift of time well by attending Mass on Sunday and other days of the week, including Holy Days? If the Church is the portal of entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, how am I using my unique gifts and talents to strengthen my parish community? If a young person, am I seeking to know God’s plan for my life? What is God asking me to do for Him? Is God calling you to consider a vocation such as priesthood or religious life?
The context for such considerations is the treasure that is the Kingdom. We should not think so much of death as immortality. We as Christians believe that this life is even now a participation in the Divine life. But this life is just the beginning. This life is a preparation for eternity. Here we learn to live life for others, indeed for the Other. Here we learn to love so as to enter into the fullness of Love eternal. Jesus Christ is not only the Master… He is the Treasure. He is the Kingdom. Seek ye first, the Kingdom of God.