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Treasures in Heaven
Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”
Opening Prayer: Lord you are my treasure. As I reflect on your words today, enlighten my mind to contemplate my eternal destiny. May this reflection deepen my desire to spend eternity with you.
- Where Is Your Treasure?: Human beings were made to worship. Everyone worships either the true God or a “god.” As Our Lord pointed out, wherever our treasure is, wherever our heart is, that is our God—or our false god. Some people worship fame, honor, or wealth. They may go to church on Sunday, but their thoughts dwell on other things and, in their free time, they rush to do what they really love above all else. The concept of false gods is as old as human nature. False gods don’t just fail to save their followers; they destroy them. The Old Testament, especially the book of Judges, tells of the stories of many people who left God for some other idol and found themselves enslaved rather than saved. The idols of old required human sacrifice to be satisfied, but modern idols (addictions, materialism, etc.) just drain the idol-worshippers’ life slowly. So when God commanded, “You will have no other gods before me,” he wasn’t motivated by petty jealousy. He was proposing a life-saving intervention. By adoring God, we adore him who said, “I am the Life,” and he gives us life everlasting.
- Heavenly Treasures: Both thieves and stock markets can take our money. Both moths and ever-changing fashions can make our clothing obsolete and worthless. The more we invest in these kinds of things, the poorer we will ultimately become. When we turn our minds to heaven and strive to see our lives with an eternal perspective, we reap eternal dividends—a place one day in heaven with God. Sister Faustina offers us this encouragement about heaven: “Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its inconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death. I saw how all creatures give ceaseless praise and glory to God. I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures, making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never comprehend or fathom. This source of happiness is unchanging in its essence, but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures.”
- Smallest of Idols: We love Jesus and strive to do his will at all times, but we still fall prey to smaller idols periodically. These seemingly insignificant idols can grow in our hearts unchecked, like dust bunnies growing under a bed. Maybe we treasure watching too much TV; or we treasure some idealistic “perfect family” and want our family to conform to that ideal; or maybe we spend too much time at work, on our hobbies, or on sports. These “goods” can corrupt us if we’re not diligent. Jesus and his saints recommend briefly examining our conscience before we go to bed. St. Ignatius suggests following these simple steps: 1. Become aware of God’s presence. 2. Review the day with gratitude. 3. Pay attention to your emotions. 4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. 5. Look toward tomorrow.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, my heart is full of gratitude for the spiritual and temporal gifts that you give me each day. By your grace, may I never make an idol of your gifts. Help me to remember that the Giver is so much more than the sum of all the gifts I have received!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will institute the practice of a brief nightly reflection to root out idols that try to creep into my heart.
For Further Reflection: Check out these longer examinations of consciences from the USCCB.
Father Simon Cleary, LC, is the chaplain at Mano Amiga Academy in the Philippines. The school provides underprivileged children programs that promote values formation, skills and health development, and other services tailored to the needs of the community. Visit www.manoamigaph.org to learn more.
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