I just got back this afternoon from the Companions of Christ 4-Day Annual Conference. Phew!
What a blessing and what a challenge to be sharpened in focus by spending an obscenely extravagant amount of time in prayer, worship, learning and recreation with guys who have such hearts for God.
During our Holy Hour this morning I was drawn to today's gospel reading, Matthew 13:51-52. It talks about scribes trained for the kingdom of God and compares us to householders who bring out of their treasure both new things and old.
In the Gospel context Matthew is talking about the leaders of the Christian community skillfully and sucessfully combining the old and the new, as in Moses and Jesus. The whole book of Matthew's teaching is a five sermon outline about how God's kingdom is begun, lived ruled, challenged and fulfilled in Jesus.
But my study this morning became more personal as I was led on a little Spirit treasure hunt of passages that talk about treasure.
First, I discovered that the treasure is really something inward, according to another passage in Matthew's gospel. Out of his or her treasure each one brings out good or evil (Matthew 6:.21) It's an inward resource.... built out of our character and virtues.
Second, from Colossians 2:11 I learned that we find that this treasure comes not from our own selves but from Christ. Christ in us, the hope of glory. That's a comfort. Because I already know how bankrupt I am on my own power and in my own self. I need to begin learning the fullness of those treasures of wisdom which Paul praises in Colossians. But it's a comfort to know its "out there."
Third and finally, we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, 2 Cor. 4:7. This passage turned out to be the first reading at Mass this morning, because Father Tom chose to celebrate the votive Mass for priests with its kindred readings. So, I was reminded once again during Mass how precious that treasure is. We hold it lightly and not under our own initiative. We are called by God and called to share the treasure of His Love and Sacraments, not hoard them, not force feed them, but offer them with an open hand.
That's the treasure I received this week from these brothers. I saw that again and again as my brothers who are ordained led us all on a journey,.... gently, firmly, beautifully and repeatedly, to the Table which is really a vessel, containing within it all sweetness and every good and needed instruction.
Thank you, Lord, for this band of brothers. They are my true treasure in You.