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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 (2Cor 11:18.21b-30): Brothers and sisters: Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. To my shame I say that we were too weak! But what anyone dares to boast of (I am speaking in foolishness). I also dare. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they children of Israel? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I am talking like an insane person). I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death. Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep; on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings, through cold and exposure. And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Responsorial Psalm: 33
R/. From all their distress God rescues the just.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad.

Glorify the lord with me, let us together extol his name. I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him.
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)