“We are shaped by what we love.”
Thank about that for a moment.
Let its wisdom soak through your skin and deep into your heart.
What does this say about me?
What do I love? Money? Pleasure? Power over others? Possessions? The approval of others?
If what I love shapes me, what shape am I in?
When Jesus, our divine Master, seemingly delayed in coming, arrives on an unexpected day at an unknown hour, in what sort of shape will he find me?
Our first reading from Wisdom reminds us that the Israelites, our ancestors in faith, knew beforehand when the Passover was coming. Thus, they prepared the sacrifice and placed the blood of the lamb on their doorposts so the angel of death would pass over their homes and spare their first-born sons.
We, too, know that the Lord will call each of us to “pass over” from this earthly life into eternity. Death will come for us all, but we know not the day nor the hour. Perhaps you find this thought depressing or frightening. Do not despair! Have faith! As we hear in today’s second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
Jesus himself tells us in today’s Gospel, “Do not be afraid.” He assures us that our “Father is pleased to give us the kingdom.” We are promised eternal life in heaven as beloved daughters and sons of God the Father, invited guests at the banquet of the King.
As Abraham, our father in faith, trusted in God’s promise, we, too, are invited to place our trust in the promise of eternal life given to us through the new covenant of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
Put another way, we are called to set our hearts on Jesus – to love him above all else and before all else.
In loving Jesus and living as his faithful missionary disciples, we are shaped, not by what we love, but by who we love. Jesus invites us to let go of everything to which we cling; to place our faith and trust in God alone.
“Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourself that do not wear out … that no thief or moth can destroy.”
As disciples of Jesus, we are to make him the center of our lives; to love him with all our heart; to treasure him above all else. In loving Jesus, we are transformed. We are shaped by who we love, not what possesses us. In the freedom that comes from placing all our faith and trust in Jesus, we find ourselves loving those whom Jesus loves: those who are forgotten, the people marginalized by the powerful and the strong, those who hunger and thirst for food and justice. Our hearts, which burn with the Holy Spirit, move us to reach out, to accompany, and to love in the name of Jesus. In loving Jesus and permitting him to love others through us, we become more and more like him.
As St. Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).
In this way, when the Master returns, he will us transformed by the Holy Spirit into himself, loving and serving and evangelizing in his name. We will be awake and ready for his return.
For where our treasure is, there also will our heart be.