Daily Reflection
June 20th, 2008

Paul Mahowald, S.J.

St. John's Church
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Earlier this week we read in first Kings about the struggles the great prophet Elijah had with Jezebel revolting against Ahab, the King of Israel. And now today’s story of another palace revolt has Athaliah brutally taking over the throne of the King of Judah. The priest Jehoiada saves the proper succession of the family line of King David which will continue all the way to the times of Joseph and Mary and the Messiah, Jesus.

We see God at work holding together, rebuilding and supporting structures that are being destroyed by evil human choices. It reminds me of the papacy which the Holy Spirit has always guarded in spite of the several not-so-admirable occupants of the Chair of St Peter over the centuries.

The very brief reading from the gospel continues the several parts of the Sermon on the Mount which we have prayed over all this week. Jesus teaches us many ways to do this practically: to be just, not hypocritical, loving and forgiving others (the Lord’s Prayer.) Today’s gospel reading is more reflective. Jesus simply asks me to examine where my treasure is – because it is there that I will find my heart.

Just three weeks ago we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. This is a feast that comes to us from the late 17th Century to remind us how God has always loved us and how he invites us to show love in return by doing his will. The revelation to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was simply a reminder to the Church that there is stream of mercy to sinners from the Heart of Jesus. Another stream of love goes out to those who are open to receive his love and change their lives to be more faithful to the Law of Christ.

More recently, based on revelations to St. Faustina, John Paul II proclaimed the Sunday after Easter as Mercy Sunday so that we can again be reminded that God loves us and that Jesus has suffered and died for us. We are invited to share in this reconciliation offered to us. Both of these more modern revelations of God’s love and mercy are given by Jesus to all of us so that we do not forget that Jesus promises to forgive us and heal us of our sinfulness.

So the sentence in the gospel today which is reinforced by these revelations is “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” If on the one hand I find my heart and desires are on power, riches, acclaim and influence, then that is where my treasure is and it will lead to chaos. But on the other hand when I desire to do the Lord’s will to be humble, loving, forgiving, generous and understanding, then this is where my heart is and this will lead me to share with the Lord his mission to help others.

I am asked to discern this much as St Ignatius asks me in the Spiritual Exercises to choose between the Two Standards: am I for selfishly seeking my own needs and will or selflessly following Jesus’ will in helping others?

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