(Photo illustration by Phil Younk)

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Based on the Gospel of Luke 2: 32-48
It’s August. Have you taken time to look around and notice all the things making you happy this summer? Such as: warm, sunny days, shady trees, beautiful flowers, fluttering butterflies, chirping birds, flickering fireflies, playful pets, inviting lakes and best of all, family and friends.

These are all God’s gifts to us to show that our happiness is important to him. But, do you know God has the best treasure of all still waiting for us?

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus uses several short parables to tell of his final coming at the end of time – though the exact time is not known – and that his followers must be ever watchful.

Jesus came to bring God’s love into the world, teaching and healing. Jesus chose 12 apostles to begin his church. They left all they had to follow Jesus. They listened to his teaching, heard him pray to God the Father, saw him forgive sinners, heal the sick and even bring the dead back to life.

Jesus sent the apostles out to the towns and villages to teach, to heal, to forgive and to share God’s love. After the Holy Spirit came to the apostles at Pentecost, they went out and began to preach the Gospel to the world. Thousands of people became followers of Jesus. The church grew and spread to every nation. Today, the church Jesus built is made up of people from all over the world.

At baptism, we became members of the church Jesus built – the Body of Christ, with Jesus as the head of the Body. We worship together at Mass; we receive the sacraments, especially Communion and reconciliation, to help us grow in love and grace, and, we continue to learn more about Jesus and his church.

At baptism, we were anointed with chrism – baptized “into Christ” to be sharers in his life. Jesus wants us to share his Good News with others. Simply put, it means stewardship. By our lives we are to continue Jesus’ work and mission on earth as faithful stewards of the life and gifts with which each of us has been blessed – until Jesus comes again.

Jesus says, “Be prepared!” The treasure God the Father has waiting for all of us is heaven and happiness with him forever! How to be prepared? “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind;” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Be prepared – the reward will be heavenly!