June 22, 2012

HOMILY for Fri 11th Week OT (II)

2 Kgs 11:1-4. 9-18. 20; Ps 131; Matt 6:19-23

“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. 

A typical reading of this, I think, is fairly clear and somewhat moralistic: what we really value is shown by what we desire most, and the Lord tells us to value enduring things, to desires those, and so, to build them up. For money and material possessions cannot secure lasting happiness in the way that friendship, familial love, and virtue does. 

However, given that today is the Octave day of the Sacred Heart, it occurred to me that today’s Gospel can also be read from a different perspective, from Jesus’ viewpoint. For, Christ surely practices what he preaches. So, what is the treasure that he, God, lays up in his Sacred Heart? 

I would suggest that it is you and me. For we, human beings whom he has redeemed with his precious blood, are God’s treasure; Mankind is the apple of God’s eye. As the Catechism put it: “Man is the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake”. And God not only loves us into being, but he also loves us to the end, giving us the Body and Blood of his only Son so that we may live in Christ, and he in us; so that we may become partakers in the divine nature. So, today’s Gospel has a new resonance: Where God’s treasure is, there will his Heart be also

For it is in the Eucharist that we, God’s treasure, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus are united, in Holy Communion. And through this union with Christ we are being kept safe from the Evil One who wants to corrupt, consume, and steal us away. But, as Jesus says in the Hour of his Passion, “I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition” (Jn 17:12b). So, in the Eucharist, we, Christ’s treasures, are being laid up in heaven, guarded from evil, and prepared even now for eternal life in union with God. 

And this work of sanctification, of Christ’s transforming grace at work in our lives is so gentle, imperceptible, and often unnoticed. For the Eucharist is what the Fathers of the Church called the “seed of glory” planted in our hearts that, like the seed in last Sunday’s Gospel, grows and sprouts in a way unknown to us. God’s work of salvation in Man is a mystery. But we trust and believe that his grace will come to fruition in us in God’s good time if we allow the light of God’s grace and wisdom into the darkness of our lives; if we are open to, and treasure his teaching in the Word and in this Blessed Sacrament. Because Jesus has consecrated us to himself, he has laid us up in his Sacred Heart for heaven, and we are his treasure.

With this in mind, let us pray with these words of St John Fisher, whose feast is kept today in England: “O sweet Jesu, possess my heart, hold and keep it only to thee”. Amen.

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