Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are fielded with a good question, one that asks us and looks deep into the depths of our souls, hearts and minds. It is this question, ‘What is truly precious to us in our life?’ And this asks us exactly what we consider as something precious and to be guarded well in our lives.
There are many things that mankind find precious in life. Yes, some of the examples are wealth, possessions, family, loved ones, and many other things. To different people, these may command different level of preciousness. Yet, it is quire common for many of us to treasure wealth, possession, fame and standing in the society as things truly precious to us. This is especially more so in our world today, which is filled with greed and evil.
In the first reading today, we heard about the story of young King Solomon of Israel, just after he had succeeded to the throne from King David his father. This is a story how King Solomon prayed for wisdom before the Lord when the Lord offered to him all the things that he desired to have. King Solomon is renowned for his incomparable wisdom, in the story how he settled the issue of two mothers who are claiming to be the mother of the same baby.
God did not just give great wisdom, intellect and understanding to King Solomon, but as He Himself mentioned to the king, He granted him more than just what he had asked for, just because in his humility and meekness, he asked not for the wealth or power of the world, but for wisdom and understanding of things good and evil. God saw this and granted him what he had asked for, and in addition to that, all the others that he had not asked for.
But the example of Solomon is an example of how mankind can be corrupted by our desire and our greed. Our pride and desire will come in the way of righteousness, and prevent us from thinking and feeling rationally. Solomon grew wise and great, but he also gained much power and wealth during his long reign as king of Israel. If we read the first part of the Second Book of Kings, it would be clear how much wealth and greatness and fame that King Solomon had attained in his reign.
King Solomon was great, and his reign, together with that of King David his father was seen by all the people as the golden age of Israel, when the people of God were in the peak of their glory and power. However, with great power comes great responsibility, as well as great temptation and corruption. We know the phrase, that power corrupts, great power corrupts greatly, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is what exactly happened to Solomon, as well as many of the kings who followed after him in both Israel and Judah.
When mankind began to gain power and goodness such as wealth and possession, they can be tempted to get more and more, often by means that are wicked and unjust in nature. This is how Solomon also fell into sin and failed to live up to the expectations and failed to follow God in the same way as his father, king David had done.
But this does not mean that this is limited to the case of king Solomon or anyone who is powerful and rich. All of us are prone to this same fault. Mankind are all naturally predisposed to greed and desire, and this is something we really need to put in our greatest effort to escape from. If we are able to resist that wicked desire for more wealth, possession, affluence, fame and many other things that corrupt our hearts, then we can draw closer to God, and avoid those obstacles which Satan had placed on our way.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is important that we all realise how blessed we are in God. The Lord Jesus had taught us all that the kingdom of heaven is at the end of our path in life, if we remain faithful and devoted to God, without falling inti temptation of this world as King Solomon had done. King Solomon was faithful to God, but over time, his attachments to the worldly goods, and the attachments he had to his numerous wives and concubines, designed to grant him greater power and prestige, had dulled his mind and heart. Great wisdom is of no use if your heart and mind are dulled and confounded by the evils of this world.
It is ultimately not that we should shun all forms of contact with the world or anything of the sort. They are themselves neutral and none are inherently evil in purpose. Money and possessions are in particular capable of both good and bad actions and uses. It is when mankind use them and get hold of them, that they have the choice of either using them for good or bad, more often for bad than good in many cases.
Let us all ponder on all these, and think, on what do we consider or what we can consider as true and genuine treasure in our lives. Is it that all we can get as treasure is only in this world, in all the things we can see, touch, hear and enjoy? If we think that this is so, then we are in the danger of falling into the same pitfall into which Solomon and so many other men had fallen into. Even king David himself fell into this when he was tempted by Bathsheba, and plotted to kill her husband so that she might belong to him, and so committed a sin before God.
Our true treasure is in heaven, the prize which God Himself had prepared for us. Jesus Himself had told His disciples, that He went ahead of them to prepare for them the place which He had made ready and reserved for them in the kingdom of the everlasting life, that is the life to come, in heaven. That is also, brothers and sisters, what is to be our reward. This is the treasure that we have to seek, and not what is in the world.
Seek not the treasures that can rot or be destroyed. Neither seek the treasures that we cannot bring with us into the life that is to come. Our material wealth and goods, and all else do not matter and do not affect what we will be like in the world of the afterlife, when we are either reunited once again with God in eternal happiness or whether we will be cast away forever from His presence and suffer forever in hellfire with Satan and his fellow fallen angels.
God is our true treasure, and the One who we should aspire to gain, that means to be closer to Him and to make Him our own, just as He had resolved to forgive us our sins and trespasses and make us His own. We should do what Jesus told us in His parable of the one who seek a precious pearl, or a precious treasure, and selling all that they have in order to gain the treasure.
Be warned that we should not interpret this literally and sell everything we have. Rather, what it means is that, we should not spare any thought or have any doubt about seeking the Lord and finding our way towards Him. We must put in a lot of effort to do this, as well as to counter any opposition that we will encounter on our way. We must put in our effort, which is through none other by understanding the Lord’s will and teachings, and putting them into concrete practice in our own lives.
May Almighty God guide us on our journey, and strengthen our faith, so that we may continue to persevere, despite all the difficulties and challenges, that we can eventually at the end of the day, receive our well-earned reward, the treasure of all treasures, that is for us to see and be one with God, our Lord and Father once again. Amen.