'The friendship of Jesus is the great treasure for which the human heart is searching'

The following is the text of Bishop Jaime Soto's homily from Wednesday, Aug. 2, during the Mass he celebrated for the pilgrims from the Diocese of Sacramento at the Church of St. Anthony of Lisbon (Padua) in Lisbon Portugal. The homily is based on the readings of the day and reflects the themes proposed by the Holy Father for World Youth Day. Bishop Soto took the photo above at sunrise in LIsbon.

The face of Moses radiated God’s presence.  The prophet’s face reflected a glimmer of what he witnessed as he stood in the almighty presence of God.  Moses was considered a friend of God.  Because God had befriended him, Moses could stand in his presence and live.  His radiance was the glow of friendship.   

The radiance of God on the face of Moses struck fear in the hearts of Aaron and many of the chosen people.  There was something about this radiance that was overwhelming.  This was so much so that Moses had to wear a veil over his face.  Moses still encouraged the people to come close to him, so that he could relay to them all that God had spoken.   

The story of Moses is an important for us to hear.  Being in the presence of God did not make Moses look glum or gloomy.  He was radiant.  His face reflected the incredible beauty and glory of God.  The face of Jesus reflected an even greater glory.  His humanity did not hide the glory of his divinity.  He revealed a glory greater than the radiance of Moses.  He wanted his disciples to reflect this same glory.  Like Moses in his conversations with God, we come to reflect the radiance of Jesus when we draw near to the Lord and converse with him.  Jesus wants to make us radiant with his wisdom, mercy, and joy.  Jesus wants to shine in us and have us enlighten the world with the glory of his presence.   

The gospel today presents us with two parables: the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price.  In the first parable, we are told that the person who found the treasure out of joy went and sold all he had.  This person, even before he possessed the treasure reflected an exuberant, generous joy selling everything he had.  The treasure of the kingdom was already apparent by the joy with which he sold all he had.  The joy and generosity were as much a part of the kingdom as the hidden treasure itself.   

The friendship of Jesus is the great treasure for which the human heart is searching.  For too many this treasure remains hidden.  Jesus has revealed this treasure to us.  Through the wound of his pierced side, Jesus has opened up the treasure of his most sacred heart.  The more we contemplate the wisdom, mercy, and joy found in the sacred heart of Jesus, all the more will we radiate the joy and the generosity of Jesus in our own lives. 

Today, we have spent time reflecting on the integral ecology needed to change the social and moral climate of our world.  We must change if we want the climate of the world to change.  An important part of this change is changing our mind.  Understand that we are part of nature.  We have a human nature that roots us as part of creation and opens us to the divine.  The divine treasure of God’s mercy is revealed by God’s creation.  Psalm 19 sings, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.” This treasure remains hidden for those who choose only to see the world as a reflection of themselves and not as the work of a creator.  To see the hand of the creator opens a treasure more beautiful than all of creation.   

Knowing Jesus, we come to know ourselves and the world as created in the image and likeness of God.  We come to know the destiny to which our human nature is called.  The wisdom, joy and generosity of Jesus radiate a vision for a new humanity, for a new creation.  This begins as it did for Moses.  We must come into the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, contemplate the treasure of the Eucharist, converse with him, and enter into communion by receiving him into our hearts.  In the wondrous mystery of the Eucharist, the fruit of the earth and the work of human hands reveals the awesome presence of Jesus — body and blood, soul and divinity.  Here is the kingdom revealed by Jesus.  With joy and generosity he gives himself to us.  With joy and generosity may we receive him. 

In this morning’s catechesis, you reflected on Mary going in haste to visit her cousin, Elizabeth.  She had a great treasure hidden within her.  The reading from Luke told us how Mary revealed this treasure to Elizabeth by her joyful generosity.   

Even before Jesus was born, Mary was giving testimony to the joy and hope of the gospel.  Let us ask Mary to show us the joy and hope of her beloved Son, Jesus, found in the holy treasure of the Sacrifice of the Mass.   

The mystery of the Eucharist reveals the great culmination of all creation.  All of heaven and earth along with all of humanity is united to Christ Jesus in radiating the awesome glory of God.  Through the intercession of Mary, may our lives shine with the joyful and glorious generosity of God.