The Lamp of the Body

Matthew 6: 19-23
2 Cor 11: 18,21-30 / Psa 34

If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.
(Matthew 6:22-23)

We are blind to the real treasure
If the wealth of this world is our goal;
We will find the cost beyond measure
Should we lose the reward of our soul.

(Jesus said,) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and decay destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moths nor decay destroy, 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. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be! (Matthew 6:19-23)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus gives us two timely pieces of advice that are so relevant in today’s materialistic generation. The first concerns our primary pursuit in life: are we aspiring to pile up wealth in this life, or do we plan to invest it in heaven? The second concerns the state of our spiritual health, the ‘eye of our soul’ – our conscience. Both of these concerns will determine our life’s ultimate goal. What is most valuable in our life?

Jesus is stating the obvious in His first advice. Why hoard riches or material possessions in this life which can last no longer than rust or termites can destroy them, or thieves and robbers can take away? Unfortunately, most people who are wealthy or successful in this world become short-sighted, or their fortunes blur their vision. They become so self-assured and independent that they wander away from God’s light, and spend their time enjoying the flickering lights of the night’s vices. Darkness envelops their whole being, and the lamp of their faith grows dim.

A sudden change of fortune can be a curse in disguise if our eyes are blinded by its glitter. This happened to Harry (not his real name), a childhood friend who once had a profitable practice as a dentist. His family went to mass regularly; he and his wife were respectable members of the community. When Harry’s mother died, leaving him, the only child, a small fortune, the couple decided to relocate the family to Manila, where his wife’s relatives lived. Not long after, their marriage turned for the worse, because Harry learned how to gamble at the casino, and his wife took up ballroom dancing. The last bit of news we heard was that he and his wife eventually went their separate ways, and his dental profession abandoned.

We need to keep our vision clear on where we want to spend the rest of eternity after our brief stay here on earth. Our spiritual “eye” is our conscience. A Christian with a sound conscience lives in the light of God’s love. He believes that it is in acts of charity that he can store up or gain graces, which are the real treasure from God. And nothing can take that away from him. But a person who spends his life storing up material fortunes for himself alone is in darkness, because money gained for its own sake is usually earned by means foul and false. And spent in the same darkness of vices. Such earthly treasures last only for a time, and will never bring happiness, but only the deepest darkness to the soul.

We praise and thank You, Father in heaven, for the wisdom of managing well the resources You have entrusted to us, making us see that when others are also benefited by them, then we have invested wisely, laying up treasures for ourselves in Your kingdom. Amen.

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