Word of Life Aug 19

Lighten your heart

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Lk 12:34).

The “heart” represents the hidden, deepest and most intimate part of ourselves and the very source of our lives. The “treasure” represents whatever has most value and gives us security, both today and in the future. Our “heart” also represents our values, the source of the choices we make. It is the secret place where the meaning of life itself is at stake.

What’s most important for us? What is our “treasure” for which we are ready to leave all else behind?

            Western consumer society encourages us to accumulate material goods, to concentrate on our own needs and not bother about those of others. This is driven by the pursuit of personal wellbeing and efficiency.

Yet St. Luke, who wrote his Gospel in a very different cultural context, presents these words of Jesus as a decisive and universal teaching for men and women of all times and all places.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Luke’s Gospel strongly emphasizes the need for Jesus’ disciples to make a radical, definitive and specific choice. God the Father is the true good who must occupy a Christian’s whole heart, following the example of Jesus himself. This exclusive choice brings with it a trusting abandonment to God’s love and the chance of becoming truly “rich,” since God’s children are heirs to his kingdom.

            It is a question of freedom, which means not letting ourselves be possessed by material goods, but really having control over them.

            Material wealth, in fact, can occupy our “heart” and generate a growing anxiety to possess more, which can become real dependence. Instead almsgiving, to which we are exhorted in this passage of the Gospel, is a matter of justice, dictated by mercy, which lightens the heart and opens us up to fraternal equality.

            Every Christian personally, and the whole community of believers, can experience true freedom through sharing both material and spiritual goods with those who need them. This is the Christian lifestyle, which bears witness to real trust in the Father and lays solid foundations for the civilization of love.

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