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Matthew 6:19-23

The Word of God

Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"

Matthew 6:19-23
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • What we consider valuable shows us where our hearts are. Take time today to sit quietly and write down what you believe are the real treasures in your life? Are any of them lasting treasures? If they are, what makes them so? Give thanks to God for these special gifts.
    • A Carmelite homilist contextualised this passage: “If today on TV, it is announced that, next month, sugar and coffee will be lacking in the market, we might all buy the most coffee and sugar we can. We accumulate because we lack trust. During the forty years in the desert, the people were tested to see if they were capable of observing God’s Law (Ex 16:4). The test consisted of this: to see if they were capable of gathering only the necessary manna for a single day and not accumulate for the following day.
    • When I share, or give to others, do I give a little and keep most of it, or give most and keep only what I need for the day?
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    • Some more teaching on the Kingdom of God today, and again it turns our habitual way of seeing things upside down. Jesus is asking me not to put my heart and hopes in material possessions. He wants my heart to be free for the great work of the Kingdom - loving God and loving one another.
    • I sit with Jesus and examine my attitude towards money and possessions. Do they take too great a place in my heart and mind? I look at this honestly and ask Jesus to help me if my attitudes need to change.
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    • What is my ‘treasure ‘? How has my treasure changed throughout my life?
    • Am I aware of any treasure that I might have in the future? The way I see things will determine the way I act!
    • Do I need new glasses? Does God have a ‘new vision’ specially for me? Talk with God about this?
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    • Interesting image when you think of it: “if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light”! Have you ever thought of light entering your eye and filling the inside of your body as if your body was an empty cavern?
    • The image betrays a 1st Century science of the body but a modern experience of cataracts or partial blindness is still a sad reality for so many people in the developing world.
    • First think of partial blindness and then think of total blindness. What must it feel like to lose your sight totally? Can you relate to the spiritual state Jesus refers to with this image?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus once again reminds us that God looks at the heart, and challenges us to ask ourselves where our real priorities lie. Where is my heart? My treasure? Is it something that is durable, that cannot be corrupted by moth or by rust, or is it something merely material or ethereal, like money or success or popularity?
    • When I look at my heart, I may find it is a divided one, undecided, torn between different or conflicting loyalties, whose light is weak and does not illuminate my path in life. I look with gratitude on those persons I admire for their integrity, and pray for the grace of an undivided heart.
    • If my heart is in darkness I thank Jesus for his word which is prodding me to walk towards the light.
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    • The central teaching here is in the sentence: 'For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also'. Putting your heart into something suggests enthusiasm, energy, determination, and a valuing of whatever is occupying you. Jesus distinguishes between treasures (values) that are vulnerable to robbery or decay and treasures (values) that endure whatever happens. Such are the values of the spirit such as the virtues (above all, love) and our appreciation of all that is good, true, beautiful and noble.
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    • The mosaic laws were very precise, covering all situations and eventualities. Jesus invites his hearers to a deeper level of understanding by contrasting earthly treasures versus heavenly ones, and darkness versus light. Have I something to learn here?
    • Do I greet the light or do I allow darkness to blur my vision? Lord, help me to focus on positive options in all situations.
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    • Greed can blind us so that we see only what we want to see. Vision and light give hope. Healthy vision is aware of the challenges of life and the cost of good decisions, and it gives clarity on the path to take in the midst of the light and darkness of life.
    • Everybody desires security. If possessions are our god, then we try to find security behind closed gates or in safe deposit boxes locked in vaults. What Jesus desires for us is far different. He wants to hold our hearts and be our treasure. That is not threatened by moths, rust or thieves. Where is your security? What is your treasure?
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    • Matthew links together a lot of the wisdom sayings of Jesus in chapters 6 and 7. They are not just a motley assortment but focus on a big theme of Jesus’ preaching: true security and happiness is found in the kingdom of heaven, and in doing our best to live the values of this kingdom. As you prepare to hear this theme over the next few weeks, you might ask for God to enlighten you so that you can see where you need most to receive this message.
    • The world often teaches me to want more, to gather and accumulate. In this time of prayer I can admit whether I am restless to have more. I take care to note whether my treasure is in the right place and I ask God’s help.
    • I think of what I admire, of what attracts my attention and arouses my desire. I bring this before God so that I may see whether this is something that is for my true enlightenment or something from which I might turn away.
    • As Jesus speaks of treasures, I might ask, ‘In what way was Jesus rich?’ Jesus wants to share with me any wealth I recognise or value in him.
    • The healthy eye recognises the presence of God, seeing and valuing where there is blessing and goodness. I look on my world and circumstances as God does and pray with appreciation and compassion.