Aug. 7, 2016: 19th Sunday Ordinary Time C
Have you pondered about whether you are prepared for such a moment? Am I ready? How do I prepare for such a moment? Jesus addressed his disciples about this very difficult yet eventual event that will happen to all of us--death and judgment. Jesus first assures his disciples that the Heavenly Father is going to gift his Kingdom to them. To receive or to prepare to live in God’s Kingdom requires the disciples to divest of earthly riches and accumulate treasure in heaven instead. Care and concern for the poor, Jesus says, is the way to build up heavenly treasure. A faithful and wise disciple, Jesus says, is the one who expects his master to return at any hour and therefore carries out his duties as a good steward of his master’s provisions to other servants.
We are being personally addressed by this parable of the steward who is entrusted with much. We are the servants in that parable and we have been entrusted to care for all that God created - the earth, the land the sea, the birds, the animals and all human beings. With the many gifts we have been given come great responsibilities. As Americans we enjoy comforts, leisure, and material abundance that the vast majority in the world do not enjoy. We can never say we did not know what was expected of us. As we see in our state and in our community economic divide, disparity between the have and have-nots, disparity in education opportunity among the children, hunger in families even in this materially rich environment, something stings us inside that this shouldn't be. We sense a yearning that we need to do something to put things in right order. Are we hearing a call from Our Lord to be the agent of change?
Back to the story of the 62 yr. old economic professor, death was not in the plans for him and his wife. Fortunately for both, he was revived and did not suffer adverse after effects from his massive heart attack. During his recovery in the hospital the professor shared with the nurse a near-death-experience that he underwent as the medical team assembled around him after ‘Code Blue’ was announced. He said he saw himself come out of his body and observed what the team was doing to his body. He saw himself next in an indescribable beauty of heaven standing before Jesus. Jesus showed him a magnificent mansion made of crystal. The professor was stunned to find out that it was his own mansion. “But as I stood in front of it and looked into this immense structure, it was revealed to me that my life was the architect and the source of its construction and design. Everything that I had done during my life that was good, kind, and directed toward the good of another human being, it was all there. Every bowl of soup, every piece of bread, every blanket or an encouraging word, every tender gesture done for the love of God built and engineered it all. He rewarded to the Nth degree every single thing I had done here on earth that pleased Him. I didn’t deserve any of it, to be brutally honest, but His generosity magnified my feeble efforts on earth to such a degree that I was awestruck standing before such incredible magnificence. Prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and petition were there, and all of them in combination formed the mortar that held it all together, adorning it with such beauty that there is no way that I could begin to describe it. Oh, if only I had the words to tell you what it all looked like.”
-Fr. Paul Yi