There was once a blacksmith who worked hard at his trade. The day came for him to die. God sent his angel to the blacksmith, but to the angel’s surprise, the blacksmith refused to go. He pleaded with the angel that he was the only blacksmith in the village, and it was time for all his neighbors to begin their planting and sowing. He would be needed. The blacksmith did not want to appear to be ungrateful and was looking forward to having a place in God’ s kingdom, but could he put it off for a while? The angel went and made the blacksmith’s case before God. And God agreed. Sometime later, after the harvest, the angel returned to bring the blacksmith to heaven. But again the smith requested that his return to God be delayed. “A neighbor of mine is critically ill, and it’s time for the harvest. Some us are trying to save his crops so that his family won’ t be destitute. Please tell God I am grateful for his blessings to me. But could you come for me later?” And the angel returned to heaven. Well, it got to be a pattern. Every time the angel would come to bring the faithful blacksmith to heaven, the smith would shake his head and explain to the angel that he was still needed by someone on earth. Finally, the blacksmith grew very old and weary and so he prayed to God to send his angel to bring him to heaven. Immediately the angel appeared. “If you still want to take me home, I’m ready to live forever in God’s kingdom.” The angel laughed and looked at the blacksmith with delight and surprise. “Where do you think you have been these years?” The blacksmith was home.
After saying “life does not consist in one’s possessions,” Jesus in today’s Gospel reminds us: “Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach, nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Saving for heaven should be an effortless job. In order to be able to build up “inexhaustible treasure in heaven”, we don’t have to do anything extraordinary. All we need to do is to be like the blacksmith in our aforementioned story: unassuming and serving others. Heaven is that which happens when we spend our life for others. This is the gospel version of life. In this sense, we need the poor more than they need us. And therefore, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (The concluding verse of today’s Gospel)
Have a Blessed week of living for others.