June 18, 2021
by Tom Shanahan, S.J.
Creighton University Athletic Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 369

2 Corinthians 11:18, 21-30
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Matthew 6:19-23
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Prayers for Fathers and Husbands

St. Paul reminds us in this part of his letter to the church in Corinth that they are called to focus on the one reality that most matters: their relationship with God.  He warns the Corinthians not to be dissuaded by the “super-apostles” who have swayed them against the teachings of the gospel by Paul, their founder. 

Paul’s “boast” is made up of the many ways that he has suffered for Christ in his ministry to the churches he founded.  He’s been imprisoned, beaten, endured all kinds of hardships, traveled extensively around the world of his time.  All these negative experiences he has endured for the sake of Christ and the churches he led to the Gospel of Christ. 

Paul’s is a wonderful, if stark, account of the hardships surrounding the preaching of the gospel.  He calls on the Corinthians to stay firm in his preaching to them. They are to avoid the contradictions brought about by the super apostles who seek to turn the people away from the faith received by Paul. 

St. Paul’s words are echoed in today’s gospel reading.  Where Paul encourages the church to stick to the essentials and hold them strongly, the gospel asks us to determine what is our “treasure.”  To discover our treasure is to find out where our heart is: with God or (selfishly) only with ourselves.  Sometimes we consider the treasure only from a negative perspective – what do we treasure? Things that draw us away from God’s love and Jesus’ life of joy and peace.  Definitely needed, but there is another side also to consider.

We all have experienced great treasures in this past year and several months.  There have been so many examples recently of those whose treasure has been exhibited in profound service to those who contracted the dreaded Covid19. 

Think of all those who, despite the pandemic, heroically gave themselves over to deep healing of those hobbled even to death by Covid.  We’ve all seen video of doctors, nurses and medical staffs beaten down by impossible shifts and extraordinary demands on their skills and energy.  Facing crushing odds and seemingly defeated, they stayed on task despite the patients who died by the thousands.   Think, too, of the wives, husbands and other loved ones completely separated from the ill; not able to visit and wipe the burning brows and hold the hands of their dear ones. 

Lord, help us to discover where our treasure is so that we can determine where our heart is to be found.  Where the heart is focused on self only, on wealth, on alcohol/drugs, that, with your guidance we may work against them and where the focus is on gratitude and joy in you and openness to your word, that we may be led to you and to your people, especially the poor among us. 

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