17th June Catholic Daily Reading and Reflection

Boxes of Treasures in Heaven at last

First Reading: From the Book of Second Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20

Vrs1 When Athaliah mother of Ahaziah learned that her son was dead, she promptly murdered all those of royal stock.

Vrs2 But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, surreptitiously rescued Jehoash son of Ahaziah from among the princes who were to be murdered, and put him with his nurse in the sleeping quarters; in this way she hid him from Athaliah, and he was not killed.

Vrs3 He stayed, hidden with her in the Temple of Yahweh for six years, while Athaliah governed the country.

Vrs4 In the seventh year, Jehoiada sent for the regimental commanders of the Carians and the guards, and had them brought to him in the Temple of Yahweh. He made a pact with them, put them on oath, then showed them the king’s son. He gave them this order,

Vrs9 The regimental commanders did everything as Jehoiada the priest had ordered, and each one brought his men, those coming on duty on the Sabbath and those going off duty on the Sabbath, and reported to Jehoiada the priest.

Vrs10 The priest then issued the regimental commanders with King David’s spears and shields, which were kept in the Temple of Yahweh.

Vrs11 The guards then took position, each man with his weapons in his hand, from the south corner of the Temple to the north corner of the Temple, all round the altar and the Temple.

Vrs12 Then Jehoiada brought the king’s son out — crowned him and gave him a copy of the covenant; and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’

Vrs13 On hearing the people shouting, Athaliah joined the people in the Temple of Yahweh.

Vrs14 When she looked, there stood the king on a dais, as the custom was, with the officers and trumpeters at the king’s side, and all the people of the country rejoicing and blowing the trumpets; then Athaliah tore her clothes and shouted, ‘Treason, treason!’

Vrs15 Jehoiada the priest then gave the orders to the commanders in charge of the troops, ‘Take her out under guard and put to death anyone who follows her.’ ‘For’, the priest had already said, ‘she must not be killed inside the Temple of Yahweh.’

Vrs16 They seized her, and when she reached the horses’ entry to the palace, she was killed there.

Vrs17 Jehoiada made a covenant between Yahweh, the king and the people that they would remain Yahweh’s people; and another one between the king and the people.

Vrs18 All the people of the country then went to the temple of Baal and demolished it; they smashed its altars and its images and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. The priest made arrangements for the security of the Temple of Yahweh.

Vrs20 All the people of the country were delighted; the city, however, made no move. And Athaliah was put to death inside the palace.


Responsorial Psalm: From Psalms 132:11, 12, 13-14, 17-18

Vrs11 Yahweh has sworn to David, and will always remain true to his word, ‘I promise that I will set a son of yours upon your throne.

Vrs12 If your sons observe my covenant and the instructions I have taught them, their sons too for evermore will occupy your throne.’

Vrs13 For Yahweh has chosen Zion, he has desired it as a home.

Vrs14 ‘Here shall I rest for evermore, here shall I make my home as I have wished.

Vrs17 ‘There I shall raise up a line of descendants for David, light a lamp for my anointed;

Vrs18 I shall clothe his enemies with shame, while his own crown shall flourish.’


Gospel Reading: From the Gospel Account of Saint Matthew 6:19-23

Vrs19 ‘Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and woodworm destroy them and thieves can break in and steal.

Vrs20 But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworm destroys them and thieves cannot break in and steal.

Vrs21 For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too.

Vrs22 ‘The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is clear, your whole body will be filled with light.

Vrs23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkened, what darkness that will be!


Reflection

What do you treasure and seek after the most? What do you value above all else? Jesus offers a treasure of incomparable value and worth, but we need healthy eyes – good spiritual vision – to recognize what is the greatest treasure we can possess. What Jesus said about seeking treasure made perfect sense to his audience: keep what lasts! Aren’t we all trying to find something we treasure in this life in the hope that it will bring us happiness, peace, and security?

Jesus contrasts two very different kinds of wealth – material wealth and spiritual wealth. Jesus urges his disciples to get rich by investing in wealth and treasure which truly lasts – not just for a life-time – but for all eternity as well. Jesus offers heavenly treasures which cannot lose their value by changing circumstances, such as diminishing currency, damage or destruction, loss or theft. The treasure which Jesus offers is kept safe and uncorrupted by God himself.

What is this treasure which Jesus offers so freely and graciously? It is the treasure of God himself – the source and giver of every good gift and blessing in this life – and a kingdom that will endure forever. The treasure of God’s kingdom produces unspeakable joy because it unites us with the source of all joy and blessings which is God himself. God offers us the treasure of unending joy and friendship with himself and with all who are united with him in his heavenly kingdom. In Jesus Christ we receive an inheritance which the Apostle Peter describes as imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us  (1 Peter 1:4). Paul the Apostle describes it as a kingdom of everlasting peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

How realistic and attainable is this heavenly treasure? Can we enjoy it now, or must we wait for it in the after-life? The treasure of God’s kingdom is both a present and a future reality – like an investment which grows and matures, ever increasing and multiplying in value, and producing an endless supply of rich rewards and benefits.

Seekers of great treasure will go to any length to receive their reward. They direct all their energies and resources to obtain the treasure. We instinctively direct our energies and resources – an even our whole lives – towards that which we most value. To set one’s heart on heavenly treasure is to enter into a deeper and richer life with God himself. It is only by letting go of false treasure that one can enter into the joy of a heavenly treasure that is immeasurable and worth more than we can give in exchange. Do you seek the treasure which lasts for eternity?

Jesus also used the image of eyesight or human vision to convey an important principle of God’s kingdom. Blurred vision and bad eyesight serve as a metaphor for moral stupidity and spiritual blindness. (For examples, see Matthew 15:14, 23:16 ff.; John 9:39-41; Romans 2 2:19; 2 Peter 1:9; and Revelations 3:17.) The eye is the window of the heart, mind, and “inner being” of a person. How one views their life and reality reflects not only their personal vision – how they see themselves and the world around them, it also reflects their inner being and soul – the kind of moral person and character they choose for themselves. If the window through which we view life, truth, and reality is clouded, soiled, or marred in any way, then the light of God’s truth will be deflected, diminished, and distorted.

Only Jesus Christ can free us from the spiritual darkness of sin, unbelief, and ignorance. That is why Jesus called himself the light of the world – the one true source of light that can overcome the darkness of sin and the lies and deception of Satan.

What can blind or distort our “vision” of what is true, good, lovely, pure, and eternal (Philippians 4:8)? Certainly prejudice, jealousy, and self-conceit can distort true and clear judgment of ourselves and others and lead to moral blindness. Prejudice and self-conceit also destroys good judgment and blinds us to the facts and to their significance for us. Jealousy and envy make us despise others and mistrust them as enemies rather than friends. We need to fearlessly examine ourselves to see if we are living according to right judgment and sound principles or if we might be misguided by blind prejudice or some other conceit. Love is not jealous …but rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:4-6). Do you live your life in the light of God’s truth?

“Lord Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life. May the light of your truth free me from the error of sin and deception. Take my heart and fill it with your love that I may desire you alone as my Treasure and my All.”

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