Not a day goes by without my hearing from some friend and usually a former parishioner of mine at Saint Dominic Parish in New Orleans, in that section of town called Lakeview, which is now totally devastated and at least temporarily abandoned by its former occupants because of the recent hurricane. Yesterday one of them said to me, “It’s so strange. Before the hurricane, one of my favorite pastimes was buying shoes. I must have fifteen pairs of shoes in my closet that I’ve never worn. And now, they have been soaked for three weeks in dirty water, while here I am, in someone else’s home, with only the shoes on my feet.”
Then, after hearing that, I read the gospel of today’s Mass in which Our Divine Lord tells the parable of the very successful farmer whose bumper crops presented him with the problem of not having enough room to store his produce. He says to himself, “I’ll build bigger barns and granaries, and then I will say to myself, ‘Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years: rest,eat, drink, be merry.’” But then God says to him, “You fool! this night your life will be demanded of you, and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” And Jesus concludes, “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” Those fifteen pairs of my friend’s shoes ought to be kept in a cabinet with glass doors in the parish church. What a marvelous illustration of the words of Jesus they are!
So, my dear friends, whether you and I are hurricane victims with nothing but the clothes with which we escaped our homes, or in normal circumstances, we need to ask of ourselves often: if I were to die today, have I “stored up for myself treasures in heaven,” as Jesus counsels all of us to do, so that when we appear before Our Lord in judgment, our merits which have preceded us will speak well on our behalf? Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.