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."
The Gospel today is a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount. While I read through and reflected on today's Gospel and the Sermon on the Mount, I considered what Jesus is teaching, and whether or not my heart is seeking after things of this world, or after a real, deep and full relationship with God. I think Jesus is warning us to guard our hearts, and to follow the things of God and not be distracted by things that are only temporary. I thought about the question, what do I consider valuable? As today's Gospel tells us, what you consider valuable shows you where your heart is. Jesus is calling us to change our hearts from the temporary to the eternal.
It reminds me of a night, shortly after we cleaned out my mom’s closet. I had brought some of my mom’s clothes home to go through and pass along to others and to Goodwill. As I sat in my living room looking at the bags of mom’s clothes, I realized something. We go about our days collecting things, household items, clothes, decorations. We surround ourselves with things that make us happy or things we think we need. But as I sat there looking at those bags of my mom's beautiful clothing I realized, none of this “stuff” matters. I started looking at everything around me in my home, beautiful pictures on the walls, fluffy pillows, antique dishes…none of it has any eternal value. Because when I’m gone, someone will have to come through my house and bag everything up and give it to Goodwill.
I believe this is what our Lord is telling us in the Gospel message today. Don’t become attached to the things of this world. Maybe Jesus is trying to teach us that what matters in life is how we treat others and what we do for others. My mom wasn't in those bags on the floor. When I sat there thinking of her, beautiful words came to mind…faithful, loving, giving and caring. My mom was always thinking of others and doing for others. My mom was heavenly-minded. So maybe we should ask ourselves "What do I consider valuable?" Where is my treasure? The answer to that question will then answer the question Where is my heart?
What were the last lines of the reading? "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." It seems to me that your mom’s gift to you, as you cleaned out her closet, was a change in vision. You were able to see that her legacy was in her immense faith and love, and that all she accumulated on earth was just to be disposed of. That’s true of all of us. We only get to take with us to meet our God the goodness and love we show to others.
How well that fits with today’s Gospel! Truly, ‘where your treasure is, there also will your heart be!’ you are right! When we leave, to go to our eternal home, all that we have acquired here on earth stays behind. We take only our love for all things good, and the caring we freely gave to others while on earth. That indeed is our legacy and ‘our treasure’!
As you were speaking, you brought to mind a story of my own, which, actually involves my own mother and the Racine Dominicans. When I was in 5th grade, our teachers, the Racine Dominican sisters, decided to take the pupils, 5th grade and up, to see the movie, "The Robe" which was playing at one of the local theatres. It would cost $.20 cents per student. We were excited and when we got home from school that day, and we went straight to our mom and informed her of this wonderful thing. She regretfully informed us that she might be able to scrape up $.20 cents for one of us to go, but not $.40 cents. She also said that if one of us couldn’t go, then neither of us could go. I was heartbroken, but she assured me that ‘our daddy, God’ or, in Spanish, “Tatita, Dios” knew our predicament and that God was with us, no matter what. “Just tell sister,” she said, “that you do not have the money to go and she should decide whether she wants to send you home early, or if she will give you extra work to stay at school and finish while the rest of the kids go to the movie.”
Disappointed, I did as I was told. I remember the look on sister’s face when we told her, but she said she’d see what was best and let us know. On the day itself, she announced that we should line up since we were walking to the theatre. I thought that she had forgotten that my sister and I couldn’t go. So I went up to her and said, “Sister, do you have extra work for us, or shall we walk home?” She said, “Line up with the other children.” I said, “But we don’t have the fare.” She said, “Don’t worry about it. It’s been taken care of.” So we happily lined up and went to see the movie. Our “Daddy, God” had taken care of everything…with the help of the good sisters!
What a beautiful story about your mom and the Racine Dominican sisters. Their focus was on you and your sister. The Dominicans gave from their hearts so that both of you could go on the class trip. Isn't that just what Scripture is asking us? Where is our focus? We need a good eye to lead us to the way of light. The good eye has one Treasure, God. When your heart is focused on God, you are full of light.
Each of us has so many wonderful memories of loving and giving, so much to treasure. Let’s give them to God for safekeeping and bless the Lord for all the good that has been given to us on earth and is safely kept for us in heaven!