Tag Archives: treasure

three great treasures

Jesus taught that where our treasure is, there will be our heart, also. If we agree with the great Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, our hearts are surely in a good place. Our world would be a far kinder and much more gentle place if we would demonstrate our wealth in these treasures.

“the true treasures of the church”

On this Good Friday I want to share a photo and brief story from my FACEBOOK feed. What a truly beautiful way to celebrate the joy of Easter.
How we treat the least of these is exactly how we treat their Creator. Pope Francis demonstrates a love for the poor that we all should emulate.
'Here are some of the 150 homeless men, women and children invited to the Sistine Chapel yesterday by Pope Francis.  The Pope met privately with them, asked for their prayers and said, "This is your home."  Afterwards they were invited to a special dinner.  

This beautiful photo is itself a meditation on many truths: First, we are reminded of St. Lawrence bringing the poor to a third-century Roman emperor and saying, "Here are the true treasures of the church."  Indeed, here they are: the greatest treasures of the church before the greatest artistic treasure.  Second, it is a unique meditation on the communion of saints, above and below.  The people in this photo, seated below, are part of the great communion of saints, who are included in Michelangelo's masterpiece, which depicts not only those going to hell but the saved, those being invited into heaven.  And what is the litmus test for entrance into heaven?  As Jesus says in Matthew's Gospel, it is how you treat the poor.  Third, it is a meditation on humility.  The Pope asked that no photos of himself be taken.  Fourth, it is a meditation on how the church can treat the poor: the way that the father treats the prodigal son in Jesus's parable in Luke's Gospel: lavishly, prodigally, over the top.  Why should we stint when it comes to helping the poor?  Finally, it is a meditation on joy.  Look at the faces of these these men and women when they are treated as human beings, and not simply as objects of charity or as bothersome problems in our cities and towns.  The Joy of the Gospel, Evangelium Gaudium, is real, and it can be found here on earth. 

(Photo from L'Osservatore Romano.)'

Here are some of the 150 homeless men, women and children invited to the Sistine Chapel yesterday by Pope Francis. The Pope met privately with them, asked for their prayers and said, “This is your home.” Afterwards they were invited to a special dinner.

This beautiful photo is itself a meditation on many truths: First, we are reminded of St. Lawrence bringing the poor to a third-century Roman emperor and saying, “Here are the true treasures of the church.” Indeed, here they are: the greatest treasures of the church before the greatest artistic treasure. Second, it is a unique meditation on the communion of saints, above and below. The people in this photo, seated below, are part of the great communion of saints, who are included in Michelangelo’s masterpiece, which depicts not only those going to hell but the saved, those being invited into heaven. And what is the litmus test for entrance into heaven? As Jesus says in Matthew’s Gospel, it is how you treat the poor. Third, it is a meditation on humility. The Pope asked that no photos of himself be taken. Fourth, it is a meditation on how the church can treat the poor: the way that the father treats the prodigal son in Jesus’s parable in Luke’s Gospel: lavishly, prodigally, over the top. Why should we stint when it comes to helping the poor? Finally, it is a meditation on joy. Look at the faces of these these men and women when they are treated as human beings, and not simply as objects of charity or as bothersome problems in our cities and towns. The Joy of the Gospel, Evangelium Gaudium, is real, and it can be found here on earth.

(Photo from L’Osservatore Romano.)

none are so blind

I have a vision of a world without hunger. And I am committed to ending hunger in our lifetime. Like Gandhi, I know that “this world has enough for every man’s need, but not enough for every man’s greed.”

Meeting the real needs of the poor and hungry simply requires sharing the abundant resources with which we have been so richly blessed. And the amount needed is far less than we might imagine.

A $175 billion a year would easily meet the Millennium Development Goals. That breaks down to less than $250 a year for the 850 million of us that have an above average income (based on the average income of Portugal, the lowest income nation in Europe).

This amount, $175 billion, would allow us to cut the number of poor and hungry in half. Think about it, less than $250 a person could save millions of lives a year and bring even more millions out of the shadow of crushing poverty.

Why don’t we make it happen? Are we too selfish to care? Or is the deeper truth that we are in chains ourselves, too chained by our riches to break free enough to act on behalf of those dying from our refusal to see the truth?

The words of Cyprian, a bishop of Carthage in the third century seem appropriate.

Their property held them in chains…chains which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls…If they stored up their treasure in heaven, they would not now have an enemy and a thief within their household…They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves.