Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 1558-1603.
>> She was probably England’s greatest and most controversial Queen.
As she lay on her death bed, the nation’s best doctors battled to save her life…
… but in vain!
When she was told that she was going to die, the unfortunate Queen began to weep.
>> She sobbed and said: “I will give millions for an inch of time!”
She had lived 70 years of pursuing wealth, fame and pleasure
>> She had servants to cater to every whim
>> It is said she had 10,000 dresses in her wardrobe with atleast 2000 pairs of gloves alone!
>> She was the queen of the kingdom which was considered to be “one on which the Sun would never set”
Yet, this apparently powerful and rich Queen of England, died – pleading for “An Inch of Time”
This is the reality of our earthly lives….
>> No matter how materially rich we are…
… none of these would count as being important, when death arrives!
>> No matter how popular and fame we acquire while on earth…
… all of it would be reduced to nothingness, when the end comes!
The only thing that would matter, would be…
… Have we made God as the ultimate treasure and meaning of our life and live by His Will?
… Are we humble enough to acknowledge and depend on the Providence of God?
>> The sooner we realise this, the more meaningful would our lives be…
>> The further we delay, the deeper would be the moments of anxieties in life!
The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful reminder by Jesus to have an examination of the “longings of our hearts” and to set right “first things first”!
Jesus says: ” Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth….” (Mt 6: 19)
Every human being has an innate longing and a craving to go beyond transitory, transient and peripheral aspects of life.
>> It is this dimension that is described in terms of…
… longing for eternal happiness
… desire for peace and serenity
… yearning for the Absolute
… deep thirst for God etc…
There is a search for the Eternal….. a pursuit for the Everlasting.. in every human being!
However, very often in this quest, human beings go astray and go off track, by falsely seeking for the Eternal, in mere peripheral objects.
>> These objects vary for different people…
… It could be wealth, power, prestige, sex, drugs, other addictions, worldly attachments etc.
We often build up for ourselves castles and mansions in this physical world…
… and remain under the false pretence, that my life is comfortable and everything is very good.
Our hearts & minds gets set on “things of this world“ and we remain deceived with peripheral joys and temporary happiness and tranquility!
But today, the Lord warns us: “Have we stored up treasures on the earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves can steal?!” (Mt 6:19)
Jesus points to the fact that one must not have treasures “that would not last”
In this reference, he points to three entities: moth, rust and thieves.
1. Why moth?
Rich and extravagant dresses and garments were often expressions of wealth.
>> And moths loved to treat on such “ornate” dresses and garments
Garments, in the Bible, also refer to the dignity of a person, a symbol of righteousness and the sign of salvation
>> Moths eating such garments, point to the loss in spiritual agility and vigour!
2. Why rust?
Grains were also considered as a sign of prosperity and thus they would be stored in storehouses (as the parable of the rich fool suggests – Lk 12: 18b)
The Greek word used for ‘rust’ is “brosis” which literally means “an eating”
>> This could refer to how rats, mice, worms, and insects could eat away at these storehouses of grain!
>> If the wealth consisted of jewellery, then this ‘eating away’ could refer to “rust” (= the product of a chemical reaction in which oxygen combines with water vapour to form the oxide of the metal).
3. Why thieves?
Gold, precious metals and other costly goods would be another sign of richness.
They would be hidden by keeping them safe in the houses etc.
>> The most common method that was done was to find a secret place in the field and in the dark of night, a hole would be dug and the treasure would be buried.
But thieves would lurk around at night and watch where people would bury their treasure…
… and then go and dig it up.
The phrase “where thieves break in” could be literally translated “where thieves dig in.”
>> The houses of those times were constructed of mud; so thieves would often dig through the walls and steal the treasures!
Thus, our Blessed Lord warns against having our riches that ‘would not last’…
… those which could be consumed by moths
… those which could easily be eaten up or be rusted
… those which could be stolen and plundered by thieves
Instead the Lord says: “Store up treasures for yourself in heaven” (Mt 6:20)
We need to ask ourselves: Are we rich in what matters to God?
St Paul says, “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but be transformed by a renewal of your minds..!” (Rom 12:2)
Time and again, we like to stroll along in life, thinking, that…
… spiritual life, relation with God, Divine thoughts, holy practices, devout rituals are just not “happening” things!
>> We feel that they are too boring
>> We feel that they are reserved for the older generation people
>> We feel that they are not meant for the 21st century generation!
But.. for a moment..we need to pause and think…
We may not be thinking too seriously about our spiritual lives…
… But Jesus was really quite serious….
>> That’s why He DIED on the Cross…!
His bleeding death was real….His agony and pain and sufferings, for the sake of our sins, was real!
HE WAS REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT OUR SALVATION…!
…But, AM I SERIOUS ABOUT THIS LIFE, THAT HE WON FOR ME?
How long are we going to fool ourselves…?
>> Falsely inflating our egos and satisfying our craving desires…
>> Being satisfied with worldly pleasures…
>> Seeking momentary happiness…
Where our heart is…
… there will be our treasure! (Mt 6:21)
Let’s dwell deeper on the words of St Augustine:
“God, you have made us for yourself…. and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”
All our earthly and material wealth will never give us “an extra inch of time”…
… but our spiritual longings and faithfulness, by God’s Mercy and Grace, will win for us “the reward of Eternity!”
Yes, let us soar like eagles, in our longings for God..
… .and not just be satisfied, like chickens, picking up tiny grains of worldly pleasures!
God Bless! Live Jesus!