Mass celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Sunday 7 August 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A woman once approached John Wesley with an interesting question: “Suppose you knew for certain that you were going to die and meet your Maker at the stroke of midnight tomorrow. How would you spend your time between now and then?” Wesley replied, “Well, madam, just as I intend to spend it now. I will preach this evening at Gloucester and again at five tomorrow morning. After that I will ride to Tewkesbury to preach in the afternoon and meet with Societies in the evening. Then I will go home to dinner, talk and pray with the family as usual, retire to my room at ten o’clock, commend myself to God, lie down to rest and wake up to GLORY.”
When similarly questioned, Martin Luther replied, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces I would still plant my little apple tree and pay my debts.”
Centuries before Wesley and Luther, Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden when one of his brothers in Christ put the same question to him. “Come what may,” he answered, “I would finish hoeing my garden.”
In the sense the Scripture Readings today invite each of us to reflect similarly. What would you do if you knew that this day would be your last? What would you not do? How would you prepare to meet your God? Where would you go? With whom would you spend your remaining hours? Jesus, of course, reminds us, “Do not live in fear.” It is where our treasure is that will give us a purpose for life; if our treasure and our faith is in God, if his abiding presence is the thing which sustains us, then faith will prompt us in all that we do in life.
The people of Israel went out from Egypt into the desert because they were certain that God would look after them. Whenever, in that journey, they forgot where their true treasure lay, they suffered the wrath of God. However, they turned back to him and he saved them. So too the servants in the Gospel; when they were zealous about the care of their house, even when their master was absent, then he cared for them on his return. If they forgot him and turned to themselves they were unprepared for the call.
May our hearts truly find God in this treasure of the Eucharist and know
that he walks with us. May we show the gratitude from hearts filled with thanksgiving because we truly are offered a treasure with the Lord which no thief comes near and no moth will destroy. If we walk with the Lord, if we know that he is with us, then there will be no challenge too great or too fearsome for us, no request of a brother or a sister that we cannot fulfil in some way. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.