Friday in the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings: 2 Cor 11:18, 21-30; Mt 6:19-23

Eighty-five times in the Bible we are told that our treasure is that in which we delight. Jesus tells us again today. Could it be that this is important?

It is important; it makes a difference. In fact, it makes a difference that makes a difference! It makes such a difference because what one’s heart is set on, what one delights in, can determine who he is. Pope John Pau II, at World Youth Day in 2020, said that the decisive question the youths faced is not about “what”. The basic question is about “who”: To whom am I to go? Who am I to follow? To whom should I entrust my life? He told them Christianity is a person: Jesus Christ.

Setting one’s heart on Christ, delighting in Him, is done by using the intellect and will creatively to form oneself in Hs image and likeness. That is self-determination, the great task of one’s life.

The task is set by the levels of depth of the heart. At the shallowest level is pleasure and possessions followed by ego-gratification or accomplishment and recognition. These suit us to the culture of the environment we live in. The culture assigns importance by the level of satisfaction that an experience provides. As with children, one’s own personality has priority over principles. Pleasure and achievement are at the shallowest level simply because their benefits do not last long. They’re not necessarily bad things; they’re just not the only thing.

At the third and deeper level is the more mature need for commitment and contribution. Others are preferred to self. The scriptures in general and the gospels in particular are rife with calls to this way of life. It has enduring benefits to self and others. But where does one get the power to prefer service over the self-seeking of the first two levels?

That comes from the deepest part of the heart, from that which we prefer to everything. It’s where the treasure is. The spiritual life is commonly referred to as a journey and the first thing to be determined in a journey is its goal. The self determines the goal and thereby determines self: the action he’ll take to realize the goal and the kind of person he will need to be. That goal is Jesus Christ, the Way to the kingdom of heaven. At these two deepest levels we determine ourselves by the principles Christ taught. The first principle is the Two Great Love Commandments followed closely by today’s principle the treasure of the heart. It will be our inner light.