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17th Sunday A


What makes you truly happy? My friend Marcus, 4 years old, is truly happy when he plays with his bullet trains and practices his Jacky Chan moves. Patrick is truly happy when he goes home to his loving wife and beautiful baby girl. Allan is truly happy when he works abroad away from the family but supporting them monthly in their every need. I am truly happy when I am reading and discovering new knowledge I can share with students and parishioners.

What we are truly happy about… that is our treasure! That is the item of most value in our lives. Every person has this treasure close to his heart.

The gospel speaks about finding your treasure. A man finds one and was filled with joy. Another finds the finest pearl and was likewise in ecstasy. Jesus tells us that we all have the possibility to find what makes us truly happy in life. Often, what makes us happy is not something that we seek out. Rather, we chance upon it. It surprises us, it seems to discover us, instead of the other way around.

Being happy with something demands a corresponding sacrifice. When a child delights in play, he must make sure that he has done his homework earlier and fast. When a man is centered on his family, he must be strong enough to resist peer invitations to after-work outings or gimmicks. Anyone abroad laboring for loved ones must fight his nostalgia and loneliness to be able to concentrate on his job.

A treasure does not come cheap. Look at the gospel again and see that treasures are not only about joy. It is also about giving up something to possess the greatest value of your life. The man who unearths his treasure in a land not his own parts with all his belongings to buy the land. The man who wants to own the finest pearl must sell everything and invest in this one piece of gem.

What makes you truly happy? Ask yourself again. Yes, you feel elated at this person, thing or activity. But do you also feel the demands that go with cherishing your treasure?

If you say you love your friends but think only of yourself, that is questionable love. If you truly value family life but rarely have the time for them, how true is your love for them? If you love your work but is lazy and minimalist, do you think you will grow in your profession? The moment you know how to give up certain pleasures for the one you love, then you have found your treasure.

As Christians, is God our treasure too? Too often, we are absorbed by the beauty and glitter of things around us, people around us, that the Lord is no longer a treasure in our lives. Maybe a lifeboat in times of trouble, a doormat to absorb our dirt, a supplier when our resources run out. But is he our treasure?

Valuing your life’s treasure is not merely feeling attachment to it or paying verbose tribute. It demands sacrifice. It demands proof in concrete acts of love.