Tag Archives: true treasure

17 June, Friday – Jewel of the Heart

17 June

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2 Kings 11:1-4,9-18,20

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah learned that her son was dead, she promptly did away with all those of royal stock. But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, secretly took away Jehoash, her brother’s son, from among the sons of the king who were being murdered, and put him with his nurse in the sleeping quarters; in this way she hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death. He stayed with her for six years, hidden in the Temple of the Lord, while Athaliah governed the country.

In the seventh year, Jehoiada sent for the commanders of hundreds of the Carians and of the guards, and had them brought to him in the Temple of the Lord. He made a pact with them and, putting them under oath, showed them the king’s son.

The commanders of hundreds did everything as Jehoiada the priest had ordered. They brought their men, those coming off duty on the sabbath together with those mounting guard on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. The priest equipped the commanders of hundreds with King David’s spears and shields which were in the Temple of the Lord. The guards formed up, each man with his weapon in his hand, from the south corner to the north corner of the Temple, surrounding the altar and the Temple.’ Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son, put the crown and armlets on him, and he anointed him king. They clapped their hands and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’

Athaliah, on hearing the shouts of the people made for the Temple of the Lord where the people were. When she saw the king standing there beside the pillar, as the custom was, with the captains and trumpeters at the king’s side, and all the country people rejoicing and sounding trumpets, Athaliah tore her garments and shouted, ‘Treason, treason!’ Then Jehoiada the priest gave the order to the army officers: ‘Take her outside the precincts and put to death anyone who follows her.’ ‘For’ the priest had reasoned, ‘she must not be put to death in the Temple of the Lord.’ They seized her, and when she had reached the palace through the Entry of the Horses, she was put to death there.

Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and king and people, by which the latter undertook to be the people of the Lord; and also between king and people. All the country people then went to the temple of Baal and demolished it; they smashed his altars and his images and killed Mattan, priest of Baal, in front of the altars.

The priest posted sentries to guard the Temple of the Lord. All the country people were delighted, and the city made no move. And they put Athaliah to death in the royal palace.

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Matthew 6:19-23

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

‘The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!’

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If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!

Storing.  According to google search, it is to “keep or accumulate (something) for future use.”  In common situation, we store things inside and not outside.  We store leftover food inside the fridge to prolong its shelf life.  This is an act of preserving that food for later consumption.  We store things to be used at a later time.  It is actually good to save up for our future.  However, if the storage is not big enough anymore, some will become waste.  It can be food, clothes, shoes, or gadgets.  We cannot use all of our things simultaneously if there are too many.

Jesus said in the Gospel, “Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal.”  It can be understood that Jesus is pertaining to the material things on Earth.  One may reason that we have temporal needs to sustain.  Yes, I agree that we also need earthly things to survive in life.  But we cannot only prepare for our life on earth.  We also have this afterlife that we need to prepare for.  And this is implied in our Gospel. “But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal.”  Jesus is telling us to prepare ourselves in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  How can we do that?  There are many things that cannot be lost.  The non-tangible things.  There is love, faith, forgiveness, and other more.  It is not only keeping the love, faith, and forgiveness.  We invest and share these with others.  And these are only a few treasures that cannot be destroyed nor stolen from us.  What we keep in ourselves will manifest eventually whether we are aware or not.  So if we keep only the good things, then good things will come out from us.  Others will see.

We cannot bring our riches with us after we die.  All our material wealth will be left here.  Similar to what the Gospel is telling us, this is the reality.  The reality that whatever things that we have, it will be gone and is not permanent in this world.  The money that we have is not forever.

Our life is short.  Therefore, we must strive to live it for ourselves, for others, and for God.   Our life is a great treasure from God.  How we live it is a treasure that we can bring in heaven.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Beryl Baterina)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please grant that we may live a life for You.  May our daily life be filled sharing with others Your goodness and Your love.

Thanksgiving:  Father God, thank you for the graces in our daily life.  Thank you for the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the money we earn, and the life we have.

Sunday, 27 Jul – Lost and Found Treasure

27 Jul – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

The Treasure We Have Found

Solomon prayed for the wisdom to discern the true value of things. We scarcely need the wisdom of Solomon to realise that in finding the love of God and the kingdom of God we have found a treasure beyond price. It is in the joy of this realisation that we hold our celebration today.

– The Sunday Missal

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1 Kings 3:5,7-12

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’

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Romans 8:28-30

We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.

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Matthew 13:44-52

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’

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God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose.

Where is your treasure? Rather, what amongst all you presently own in this life, do you count as your prized possession, your paramount treasure? The readings today posed a very difficult question to me. I was confronted and put in an awkward corner. My treasure is my intellectual achievements and reputation. By naming these two things, I don’t mean that I am incredibly intelligent or that I am of stellar social status. What I am actually saying is, these things are the treasured pearls I hope to find, much like the merchant.

Because I pride these as the most valuable things to own in my life, a good repute and intellectual accolades, that I am willing to barter or surrender almost all that I have in exchange for these material tokens. I probably have more in my checklist of “to-have’s” that I’ve yet to unpack, but I’m afraid to peer into this sack of hang-ups any longer.

King Solomon in our first reading today asked for only one thing ‘Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil’ (1 Kings 3:9). I found this prayer request a little uncannily like the desire that Adam and Eve had in the Garden – grasping at the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 2:17). If their desire was bad, why did God praise and honour Solomon’s prayer for the ability to discern between good and evil – and so blessed him with ‘a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you’ (1 Kings 3:12)? The clue is the intention and motivation behind the desire – which clearly, God knew. Solomon wanted this wisdom to discern how to rule and govern ‘this people of Yours that is so great’. Whereas Adam and Eve desired this wisdom to serve their own power and need for control – they saw it as a way they could be like God.

We are challenged today to consider what we count as our true treasure. If we only see this life as all we have, and Eternal life as a kind of ‘bonus level’ which we can get to, but not necessarily of paramount importance, then our approach to life on earth would quite easily be, “I just want to get the highest score in this level” – which might translate to the intellectual accolades, the wildest material possessions, and top-notch experiences one can get out of one’s time here.

However, as true Christians we will find that as we cleave closer to our Heavenly Father who knows us through and through, the way of purification will have us gradually finding less satisfaction and less ‘kick’ out of accruing whatever this world has to offer. We will begin to evaluate our choices and life decisions differently. Old ways of measures seem to no longer hold up, or previous acquisitions seem to now leave a smarting taste where once we’d be savouring power and status. The latest car model, the shiny jewel, the job promotion so that I can take that Alaska cruise next year, etc… These things in and of themselves are not bad – but if we think that this is all for us to ring in purely to level up in our own circles, then we would have cast our eyes and hearts only in the soil of the world. Not in the Kingdom of Heaven. Solomon’s one true desire was to harness his power and authority to better serve God’s people, for God’s glory and honour.

I have been consistently challenged to exchange my old ways of measuring for God’s Kingdom values. Yes, it is truly hard to strive for unseen eternal goals when clearly, we are people of the flesh. We need tangible comforts to feel that we are on the right track. A priest shared a profound anecdote with me today, “You can only buy the heart of God with your last coin.” The irony is we could still falsely think we can buy our way into heaven. This proverb reminds me of the widow who offered her last coin in the temple, and the parables Jesus shared with the disciples in today’s Gospel reading – the happy man is the one who sells everything because of the true treasure he has found.

What am I hoarding right now that I am reluctant to offer up to God, still bargaining with Him to let me have both my possessions and His treasure? Lord, I must admit that I haven’t found you fully enough.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Debbie Loo)

Prayer: Lord Heavenly Father, help me to spend more time in silent adoration with you, to listen to your heartbeat – lest I grow dull and lose sight that you are my one true treasure.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the generosity and selflessness of those everywhere who are united with Christ in poverty and meekness. May they be our teachers.