Throughout the scripture, we read of a God of promise, (of great promises, in fact) who fulfills every one of his promises.
The first reading tells us that the people of Israel were certain of their deliverance from the slavery of Egypt even before the night of the Passover because of the oath God made to their fathers.
The second reading is a hymn on the fulfilment of God’s promises to the ancients, starting with those he made to Abraham. God asked Abraham to leave his country and go to an unknown land where he would find a “city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God.” He also promised Abraham that he would have a son even as he was advanced in age and his equally aged wife was sterile. And true indeed, he bore a son. But just when his son was growing up to be a young man, God tested Abraham by asking him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham obeyed, and God confirmed his promise that Abraham would be the father of a great nation numerous as the stars in the sky and sands on the shore.
God fulfills every one of his promises. All he asks is that we have faith. What is faith? The letter to the Hebrews tells us that “faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things unseen.” Faith is not only belief in God but also trust in him that he is true to his word and promise.
The gospel opens with Jesus saying, “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom [of God].” The kingdom is not only a promise but a bestowal readily offered to us. As I often explain, the kingdom of God is where God is king, where he rules, where his will is obeyed. “Thy kingdom come, they will be done,” In his book, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Pope Benedict XVI, identifies the kingdom of God as Jesus Christ himself. He is the kingdom of God par excellence, the perfection and incarnation of total submission to the Father’s will.
Jesus then is God’s greatest promise, the kingdom he is pleased to give us. He is our greatest treasure. Do we value him as such?
The teenage saint, Dominic Savio, valued Jesus as his best friend, and he was ready to give up everything, even life itself, but not his relationship with him. Thus, his motto “Death rather than sin.”
It is said that once St. Thomas Aquinas was favored with a vision of the crucified Christ who spoke to him, saying, ”You have written well of me, Thomas. What do you want as a reward?” His reply was, “Non nisi te, Domine.” (Nothing but you, Lord.)
After parading his status and accomplishments to the Philippians, St. Paul ended his letter saying, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” (Ph 3:8)
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”*