Everlasting Value

Matthew 13:47-53

After listening to what Jesus was talking about, how the kingdom of heaven is like a net, maybe we can use this imagery to examine how we as individuals have helped to build the kingdom here on earth.  If each of our lives represented a net, what have we been collecting?

When our lives on earth have reached their end and Jesus comes to take us home, what will be in our nets?  What items collected in our nets will we stubbornly try to drag into heaven with us?  What items will the angels have to sort through to purge out of there to make us worthy of entrance into the kingdom of heaven?

On the other hand, what items in our nets will the angels show to God and say in great delight, "Hey, look at this! Wow, this is awesome! This is cool. This is (using our flea market lexicon) really a treasure!"

We know that whatever we have collected that does not belong to the kingdom of God is worthless. It won't give us heaven on earth, and it won't get us into heaven later.  We might see value in it now, but that's only an illusion.  The value we've assigned to it does not exist in real life.  "Real life" is the eternal life that we have with God.

I might think my computer (for example) is valuable because I’ve used it to help create homilies or invite others to ministry with it, but I can't take it with me to heaven (though Fr Bob is probably convinced that I’d like to sneak it along with me).

In real life, my computer is really worthless and a burden. What is valuable, however, is how I choose to use it as a tool for the kingdom of God.  Although my words can disappear off the monitor with a click of the delete button (or the unexpected meltdown of the hard drive), the words I type can come from inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

When we return to our homes at some point later in the day today, each of us can take an inventory of the things we have accumulated. Which of those things help to build the kingdom?  Our televisions (like my computer) can be used as tools for the kingdom, or be like lead weights depending on the type of programming we watch.  Our telephones can be enormous tools for evangelization but they can also weigh us down if we use them as a weapon that inflicts pain on others – those on other end of the line or those who are casualties of our gossip.

Those things that we fill our nets with are not always tangible items.  Our time is an example of an intangible in our nets. Time spent caring for others is of everlasting value. Time spent in ministry is of everlasting value.  Time spent in prayer is of everlasting value. 


Time spent on consuming what the media feeds us, on the other hand, is of no value.  There was a news flash yesterday: “Pet pig scares off would-be robbers in an Indiana home.”  Now, I’m not sure, but I think that knowing that there was a home some 350 miles away from here that was spared, by a pig, of being robbed, is of little everlasting value. 


In my perusal of the news yesterday, juxtaposed against the story of the pet pig, was a story entitled “The Pope blasts supermarket of idols.” Doing one of his weekly catechism lessons, the Pope conveyed a similar point to what I’ve discussed here, saying that far too many people consume themselves with success, smartphones, money and even standing in front of the mirror, all of them useless idols.  He said, recognize your idol and then “throw it out the window.” 


So, we can use our nets to capture things that have everlasting value, but we can also use our nets to collect stuff that is either meaningless or destructive.  Life is too short keep kicking the can down the road and letting the meaningless or destructive items accumulate, even if we tucked them away in our attics - either the tangible items in our attics in our homes, or the intangible items in the figurative attics of our minds.


So, in our prayerful time today, let’s be thinking about what we are collecting.  What's in our nets that the angels will have to someday give the heave-ho to when Jesus takes us to heaven?  It’s time to get rid of those bad fish now.  It’s time to purge our inventories.

So, let us pray today that we can become more discerning, to be able to more clearly distinguish the junk in our lives from our most valuable treasures.  This will enable us to move our focus more squarely toward those things that God takes delight in, so that we can use them as the tools they were intended to be, to build God’s kingdom on earth, and then be enabled to take them with us to enjoy forever in the kingdom of heaven!  


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