Reflection for Tuesday, August 21, 2018: 20th Week of Ordinary Time.

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Chiacchere, Colleen
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Our readings today invite us to focus on what is truly important, cautioning that the focus on material wealth is a poisonous recipe for our hearts, and, ultimately, our futures.|In our first reading, we hear:|"by your wisdom and your intelligence,|you have made riches for yourself|You have put gold and silver into your treasuries.|By your great wisdom applied to your trading,|you have heaped up riches;|Your heart has grown haughty from your riches"|The Lord God reminds us that we are "not a god" and we "shall die the death of the uncircumcised at the hands of foreigners."|Our hearts can easily be drawn into desires for comfort and safety, for financial security or for affirmation from others. We can use our wisdom and experience as a guide for our heart and our actions. We may think that since have a certain status, or academic degree, or social class level, that gives us authority and power. Those temptations seemed to be prevalent in the time of the Hebrew Scriptures; those temptations seem to be prevalent today in our society.|Are any of those temptations (desires that we are seeking to fulfill elsewhere) prevalent in our hearts?|- - -|In our Gospel reading from Matthew today, Jesus reminds us that is is "hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven." He also reminds us that if we follow him, we "will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life." While the sacrifice may be tough, the reward is promised.|"Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."|Many of us can identify prominent political and entertainment figures, perhaps people in our work settings or families, who seek the "riches" or the first place in line. Sometimes it is so clear that the person is focused on accumulating more security, more status and oftentimes, putting others down in order to raise themselves up. Most times, the person is not even aware of their skewed focus. Society, commercialism, competition, western values promote encourage the accumulation, the safety, the security, the head-of-the-line mentality.|Today we celebrate Pope Pius X, who was known for his focus on Christ, and for renewing all things through Christ during his tenure in Rome.|I think, too, of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, as he sought to set everything down literally with is sword and figuratively by his dedication, at the statue of the Black Madonna in Montserrat, Spain. His conversion led him to leave behind stability and accumulated wealth to be a poor beggar, a pilgrim of Christ. Ignatius' prominent example of striving to model Christ's poverty gives us a lens from which to view our own need for conversion.|"Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich|So that by his poverty you might become rich."|In what ways can I channel Jesus' poverty today?|What material riches can I resist today?|I invite each of us to pray for the grace to become rich, not through accumulation material possessions but rather, through the spirit of Christ's poverty. Let us also pray for the grace for our leaders, our colleagues, our loved ones. St Pius X, pray for us. St. Ignatius, pray for us.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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