August 7th, 2016 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Open the Door to Him

By Katie Prejean McGrady

 

Growing up, my mom and dad had a very simple rule that we lived by: if my sister or I ever wanted something (like a new toy or a piece of clothing) then we had to wait three days before they would buy it for us. At the time, I was always annoyed by the rule. I wanted what I wanted right away. Now, as an adult, I see the genius of their little trick. They knew that we would typically forget about whatever it was that we wanted by day two and the item would never be bought.

That silly little rule that brought me so much grief as a kid has taught me an invaluable lesson as I’ve grown up: when we see something that we immediately want, it is usually quite meaningless and forgettable. The things of this world – the stuff that captures our attention and consumes our desires – are all fleeting and fading. Usually, if we just wait three days, we’ll almost always realize that whatever it is will never lead us to what we truly desire: eternal rest, joy, peace, and comfort. And what we truly want can only be found in one place: the arms of the eternal Father, in Heaven someday.

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus encourages the flock to rest assured that the Father will one day open His Kingdom to them. But, this will only happen if the things of this world – the material goods that surround them – are not seen as the best things they could hope to have. Jesus doesn’t want them to focus on the stuff they own, whether it be money, clothes, fame, or fortune. He wants them to invest themselves in the riches of Heaven – the riches that will never fade.

Easier said than done…I quite like the stuff that I have. The Apple watch on my wrist is pretty nifty, my Instagram followers make me feel important, every time someone retweets me I feel influential, and the computer I’m currently typing on is probably the most expensive thing I own (other than my car and the shiny diamond on my left ring finger). I don’t want to get rid of any of that stuff, and I shouldn’t have to! Jesus wants me to have all this stuff, right?! Jesus knows that I need clothes (and they need to be nice) and He wants me to have nice things (like new shoes and fancy kitchen gadgets to cook with). He totally understands that the things of this world don’t distract me from Him, but instead make my life nice and comfortable and easy…

Yeah right…

How often have I found myself checking my phone during Mass? How frequently do I choose to worship and idolize the stuff that I have rather than focus attention on the One who created me and waits for me to return to Him someday? How many times have I chosen to do something for my own pleasure and benefit rather than give to those less fortunate? How often have I ignored the knocking of the Lord upon the door of my heart?

I have all these nice things…I have the riches of this world. Much has been given to me, and thus, much is expected of me. It’s one thing to use these nice things well, and in proper accord with His greater will. It’s another thing entirely when those things become the objects of my affections and worship.

This Sunday’s Gospel reminds us to keep vigilant and not be distracted by our stuff. This Sunday’s Gospel is a clarion call to wait for the one who will come and knock up on the door of our heart, asking to be let in and be the only focus in our life. Will we be waiting? Will we be ready? Will we throw open the door and welcome the Master in? I pray we all have the strength to do that this week.

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