You Can Take That to the Bank: Reflection for Communion Service (Friday, 11th Week Ordinary Time, 6-21-24)[Gospel: Mt. 6:19-23]

You Can Take That to the Bank: Reflection for Communion Service (Friday, 11th Week Ordinary Time, 6-21-24)[Gospel: Mt. 6:19-23]

July 2, 2024 0 By BLACKCATHOLIC

Last month on June 21 I had the privilege of utilizing my full instituted acolyte duties to lead a communion service for the people at my seminarian summer assignment parish of St. Edward Catholic Church here in Nashville in the absence of a priest or deacon for Friday in the 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Year II). The following is the transcript of the reflection on the readings I gave for the service. My reflection focuses entirely on the gospel for that day.

My reflection continues below the gospel reading.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth 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.”

Matthew 6:19-23

“Store up treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Words taken from the gospel reading this morning according to Matthew.

In the Name of the Father + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

“Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth.”

This is a funny thing to hear right before some of us head out the church doors to go make some of that earthly treasure.

Plus, it’s the weekend, so, if we can, we might be planning on going out and using that earthly treasure to buy other kinds of earthly treasures.

And we even have places were we do, in fact, “store up” our earthly treasure.
Places we call “banks” and “basements” and “attics” and storage facilities like PODS and Public Storage.

But is Jesus talking about dollars and cents and material possessions we might have?

Well, yes, that is part of how He makes His point.
Moth and decay are actually destroying things and thieves are not breaking into spiritual metaphors anytime soon.

But there is a deeper thing Jesus is talking about in our gospel this morning when it comes to material possessions, and it has to do with what happens to people on the inside when the “treasures on earth” on the outside become their end-all-be-all.

Because Jesus is putting His finger on a perennial problem going on in our gospel.

People are storing up the earthly treasures they find but as an end result they (the people themselves) will be lost
AND they are living in an inward darkness of spirit.

Treasure and eyes.
Value and light.

These are the four words that can sum up the situation we find in the gospel this morning.
While lusting after the treasures they can see the people’s eyes grow dark to the true value of the treasures they cannot see, treasures that can give them light from the Father of Lights.

Without this light the people will stumble from a darkness that is within themselves.
And “how great will that darkness be!”

Because in this darkness they cannot even see the moth of selfishness and the decay of avarice destroying their souls from the inside while the greatest of all thieves, the devil, breaks in and steals the spiritual life of their souls.

Jesus does not want this for His disciples, and so He warns them to “store up treasures in heaven” and keep the eye of their souls sound.

And what Jesus said to His disciples in their time He shouts to us in our time.
Because now even the average person is surrounded by more earthly treasures than people typically had in the past.

And we, too, can often focus too much on the earthly and end up falling into darkness inside our own hearts as well.

The darkness of being possessed by our own possessions.

The darkness where the moth of un-fulfillment eats away at our hearts because of money’s inability to buy the happiness we really want.

The darkness of our eyes being clouded by distractions keeping us from the higher, more spiritual priorities that we come to church in order to cultivate within us.

Jesus’s disciples needed to overcome this darkness too.

And that is why in our gospel Jesus gives them access to true and lasting treasure and to inward spiritual light through His word.

Again, Our Lord tells them to store up treasures in heaven and keep the eye sound so the lamp of the body is shining brightly.

Jesus is trying to teach His disciples to be properly ordered spiritual persons intent on the things of God and love of neighbors first even while living in the world.
He wanted them to place priority on the spiritual aspirations of
– gaining the treasure of virtues to adorn the soul
– obtaining a priceless heart of gold: one that enriches others through charity done to them.
– and at last walking into the threshold of the mansion prepared personally for you in the Father’s House, that real duplex apartment in the sky.

These are treasures that lasting and safe from moth, decay, and thieves because they are under God’s protection from corruption and sin.

These are the way towards proper orientation of the heart in human beings.
And so, when in comes to us, it is Jesus who restores proper focus on the spiritual and He becomes the light of eyes and hearts for our souls.

Now going back to earthly treasure, no – Jesus is not against merely owning things.

So we can still go out today and get paid and put money in the bank and store things in our basements, but

Jesus is talking more about dispositions of the heart when it comes to material possessions in the world.

And Jesus in using the ancient biblical metaphor about the light of the eyes is advocating generosity over the evil and unsound eye of stinginess and selfishness.

Thus Jesus wants us to be sources of true spiritual light in a world in the darkness.

And at the end of our lives when the treasures on earth shall be destroyed and lost, we shall be made into treasures in heaven for the Father bought by the Son on the Cross with the currency of His own Blood.

And you can take that to the bank!

In the Name of the Father + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen