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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (1Kgs 11:1-4.9-18.20): When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she began to kill off the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash, his son, and spirited him away, along with his nurse, from the bedroom where the princes were about to be slain. She concealed him from Athaliah, and so he did not die. For six years he remained hidden in the temple of the Lord, while Athaliah ruled the land.

But in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians and of the guards. He had them come to him in the temple of the Lord, exacted from them a sworn commitment, and then showed them the king's son. The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each one with his men, both those going on duty for the Sabbath and those going off duty that week, came to Jehoiada the priest. He gave the captains King David's spears and shields, which were in the temple of the Lord. And the guards, with drawn weapons, lined up from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on the king's behalf. Then Jehoiada led out the king's son and put the crown and the insignia upon him. They proclaimed him king and anointed him, clapping their hands and shouting, «Long live the king!».

Athaliah heard the noise made by the people, and appeared before them in the temple of the Lord. When she saw the king standing by the pillar, as was the custom, and the captains and trumpeters near him, with all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, she tore her garments and cried out, «Treason, treason!». Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains in command of the force: «Bring her outside through the ranks. If anyone follows her», he added, «let him die by the sword». He had given orders that she should not be slain in the temple of the Lord. She was led out forcibly to the horse gate of the royal palace, where she was put to death.

Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the Lord's people; and another covenant, between the king and the people. Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. Jehoiada appointed a detachment for the temple of the Lord. All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the royal palace.
Responsorial Psalm: 131
R/. The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling.
The Lord swore to David a firm promise from which he will not withdraw: «Your own offspring I will set upon your throne».

«If your sons keep my covenant and the decrees which I shall teach them, their sons, too, forever shall sit upon your throne».

For the Lord has chosen Zion; he prefers her for his dwelling. «Zion is my resting place forever; in her will I dwell, for I prefer her».

«In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David; I will place a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon him my crown shall shine».
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 5:3): Alleluia. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 6:19-23): 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.”

“Store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.”

Fr. Lluís RAVENTÓS i Artés (Tarragona, Spain)

Today the Lord tells us that "the lamp of the body is the eye" (Mt 6: 22). Saint Thomas Aquinas understands that, when speaking of the eye, Jesus refers to man's intentions. When the intention is upright, lucid, directed to God, all our actions are brilliant, resplendent; but when the intention is not upright, how great is the darkness! (cf. Mt 6:23).

Our intention may be unrighteous due to malice, due to evil, but more often it is due to lack of good sense. We live as if we had come into the world to accumulate wealth and we have no other thought in our minds. Earn money, buy, provide, possess. We want others to admire us, or perhaps to envy us. We deceive ourselves; we suffer, we are burdened with worries and troubles, and we do not find the happiness we seek. But Jesus makes another proposal: "Store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal." (Mt 6:20). Heaven is the barn of good deeds; and this sure is a forever lasting treasure.

Let us be honest with ourselves, where do we put our efforts? Certainly, it is proper for a good Christian to study and work honestly to make his way in the world, to raise a family, to ensure the future of his own and the peace of mind of his old age, to work also out of a desire to help others.... Yes, all this is proper for a good Christian. But if what you seek is to have more and more, putting your heart into these riches, forgetting about good deeds, forgetting that in this world we are just passing through, that our life is a passing shadow, is it not true -then- that our eye is in darkness? And if common sense is blinded," how great will the darkness be" (Mt 6:23).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works.” (Saint Augustine)

  • “Jesus invites to use things unselfishly without thirsting for possession or dominion, but according to the logic of God, the logic of consideration for others, the logic of love.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply human point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others. Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself again to God and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new future possible.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 1455)