Haggai And The Bag Full Of Holes

This morning's reading at Mass was from the prophet Haggai 1:1~8. Scripture has spoken to me at various times, but it is usually the Gospel reading that gets my attention or speaks something specific to me. However, this morning it was Haggai that seemed to be speaking to me.
This particular passage comes when the Israelites have returned to their land after being exiled for some 70 years. Well, I can only imagine what it must be like returning home after that stretch of time. One of the things that lay in ruins was the temple, but the people did not have their sights on that as a priority. Human nature being what it is, they were more concerned about getting their own homes and lives back in order; the temple could wait. Haggai is sent by God to tell them they have their priorities backwards. God's exact words through Haggai are: "Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses while this house [the temple] lies in ruins?" (1:4) God goes on to tell them of all the ways their earthly concerns have basically left them empty and He ends with this one: "And whoever earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it." (1:6)
This got me to thinking not much has changed in all these thousands of years. In many ways God's house still lies in ruins while we continue to take care of our earthly cares. Not that that in and of itself is a bad thing, but God also tells us to "Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. 6:33)
Listening to this passage from Haggai today, along with pondering some of my own personal life situations lately, I began to see and sort of hear God's message to me on a deeply personal level.
That verse from Matthew's Gospel has been playing in my mind the last few days. So much of my life seems to be not where I would like it to be~my finances could be in better shape, the work on my annulment should be completed and it's not, my work hours seem to be out of control, and the list could probably go on. Every time I started to think about these things, I would then immediately think about putting and seeking God's Kingdom first. If I do this, He promises to take care of me and all that He knows that I need. I know that doesn't mean I sit back on my laurels and do nothing; I need to cooperate with His grace.
This is where I linked that verse from Matthew with Haggai. I can spend so much time getting caught up and in my earthly cares that I forget the care of my soul. My earthly "house" is being tended to and fussed over while my soul, God's temple, is left in ruins. Just like those Israelites, I can get it all backwards at times. It is then I need to hear God tell me the same thing He told His people then: "Consider your ways! Go up into the hill country, bring timber, and build the house. That I might take pleasure in it and receive my glory, says the Lord." (Haggai 1:8) I need to constantly build up my soul through the sacraments, through prayer and through good spiritual reading so that God may take pleasure there and be glorified in me.
If I neglect these things, if I fail to guard my senses and my heart, the grace I could possibly receive may fall through a bag full of holes.


Anne said…
Excellent post! I love how you picked up on the "bag full of holes" from the entire passage, as the part that had significance for your life. What a great and honest reflection. Those holes in the bag will be mended when we concentrate first on mending the holes in our hearts that allow God to leak out instead of containing him there in all of His glory. Great!