Alfonso and Helen come to Mass every morning. Rain or shine, they are present. At times, I see Helen alone because her husband has errands to do. She attends church to pray. It is her way of thanking God for the many blessings He has bestowed on her family especially for giving success to all her five children. Now she treasures her moment with the Lord. Intentionally, she gives a space for God in her daily routine.
Despite his age, Alfonso still practices his profession as a lawyer. Work, he says, is his antidote for aging. His law practice has sent all his children to school. Through the years, he has kept his name clean by working with honesty and integrity. He made a decision not to accept cases involving drug lords. He claims that there were times he was offered big sums of money. He simply refused the bait. With firm conviction he tells me, “Bahala’g pobre, basta ma-langit!” Clearly, his good name is his treasure.
Our Sunday Gospel (Lk 12:13-21) speaks about seeking the true treasure in life. In his parable, Jesus portrays a man so focused on himself and his world. He is so possessed about his possessions so much so that he is described as the “rich fool.” His concerns revolve around enlarging his gains and storing up goods for years to come forgetting that happiness is not just found in things one possesses. Real treasures include people, relationships and memory.
One treasure I keep at home is an album of pictures. It might be “old school stuff” but it is something very special to me. Those photos are part of my history. They narrate the story of my life since my childhood. They show the people I love, the places I have been and the small things that contributed to what I am today. For those who do not know me, they are a meaningless puzzle. But for those who value my person, they are memories of my significant moments. Some might have faded through the years, but each photo has a story worth treasuring.
Not everything about me is in those pictures. Those are the “captured moments.” There are so many lived experiences that were not captured and can never be captured. Some might have even been forgotten in the course of time. The photos would serve as guide posts in returning to memory lane. They can be trigger points for remembering and for getting deeper meaning from the experience. Since the digital age has arrived, I have stopped printing out my pictures. I simply saved them in my laptop. But I feel that I’m missing out on many things. I feel those memories are fast fading away. At any moment, they can be deleted.
Certain values we have treasured are also fast fading. While others still treasure the faith, young people are in search for alternatives. They seem not convinced anymore that the life and teachings of Jesus are the personification of truth and love. They can no longer connect that the way of Jesus is simply the best way to live. Even family values are slowly eroding. Our social climate has become indifferent to Catholic symbols and images to the point of being hostile.
Yet I see these as opportunities for faith-rediscovery. This theological confusion is giving birth to a nagging restlessness that characterizes people today. Deep down, people are crying for help and hungry for authenticity and purpose. Amidst the abundance in our times, there is a great poverty of meaning. We are all in search for the real treasure in life. Such treasure is Jesus Christ! And only He can quench the deepest thirst in our hearts.
I would like to end this piece with a personal prayer: “Dear God, you are the source of our life and our joy. In our search for meaning, be our guide. Lead us to the way of goodness and truth. Make us treasure every moment of our waking hours because life is a gift and a responsibility. Teach us to seek for you with an undivided heart so that we may long for the wisdom that distinguishes earthly vanity. Amen.”
My prayer also goes to my Mommy Marlene as she celebrates her birthday today. You are one of my greatest treasures. Cheers!
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