Seek the things that last forever...

Readings: 1 Kgs. 3.5-12; Ps. 119; Rom. 8.28-30; Mt. 13.44-52.

...Seek things that matter for eternal life.

In the first reading, God praises Solomon because he sought greater understanding, not the material things of wealth, nor long life for himself and short lives for his enemies. God says, "I do as you have requested. I will give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now."

In the third reading, Jesus in Matthew 13, continues to describe the kingdom of heaven. Jesus says it is like a priceless treasure, like a pearl of great price. As a matter of fact, the person in the gospel "goes and sells all that he has and buys it." This pearl of great price is worth more than anything else.

For ourselves, what is worth more than anything else? Certainly we pursue the absolute Truth and Love, which God possesses. Another value which lasts forever is our relationships with God, family, and friends. Our souls which are made by God for loving God and other people last forever. Ponder what you may want to do to improve, or deepen, or renew your relationships with God, . Family, . And friends . Can you name one thing, and resolve to do that to improve your relationship with God, family, and friends?

Please don't place excessive worth on material things. We all need material things. Some heresies in the past centuries have disparaged material things, like the human body, or food and drink, or comfort. Keep your feet on the ground, and keep a healthy and holy balance in the use and enjoyment of material things of which God Himself is the ultimate source.

I'd like to present two examples of seeking happiness: one through material goods, and another through relationships.

For the first story, I googled "Lottery Winner Woes." One man in Texas won $315 million. He purchased a big home and a big car, and established a charity foundation. But , his home and car were burglarized repeatedly. Whenever he went outside, people kept telling him "sob stories;" now he stays home, and he and his wife don't even go out to church anymore. He has had 460 law suits filed against him. Saddest of all, his teenage granddaughter began to enjoy the fast life, got hooked on drugs, and OD'ed at age seventeen. The lottery winner says, "If it would bring back my granddaughter, I'd give all it [the money] back."

Some other lottery winner woes: a former parking lot attendant in New York City won $149 million. At the press conference, he and his wife of 17 years were all smiles. Ten days later, she filed for divorce, and for half of his winnings. A woman in New Jersey won the lottery twice. She writes: "Everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language: No. She also developed a gambling habit, lost all her money, and now lives now in a trailer. Remember the adage, "money can't buy happiness."

A happy story. On Friday night, the altar servers and some of their parents and I traveled to Camden Yards. The parish's Holy Name Society provides this annual treat. Weather was a perfect short-sleeve summer night. The game went down to the last pitch. The Orioles missed the last pitch. It was an entertaining game. Mostly, it was great conversation, and kidding. I gave three altar servers a $20 bill, and asked them to please get me a chicken sandwich, and for them to get themselves something too. They came back with 50 cents change! When we left the ball park, I asked all the passengers in my car to guess what exact time we would enter St. Joseph's parking lot. I guessed 11:33 pm. I was driving, of course. We made good time coming up from Baltimore, even too good time. So as we approached Thurmont and Emmitsburg, I slowed down, and drove very carefully, and crossed each intersection very cautiously, and since it was a nice night, I decided to give a scenic tour up and down North Street alley, until, voila, we entered the church parking lot at 11:33 exactly. The whole evening was great fun! There are so many simple ways in which we nourish our relationships with each other, and through each other with God, and through worship, with God.

The wisdom of our faith, is to follow God's way, Jesus' way, the Church's ways. That is, "seek the things that last forever. Develop your relationships with God, family members, and friends.

Read other homilies by Father O'Malley