REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 18, 2021: Friday
Making a choice between God and His everlasting Kingdom, and the world and its transient riches!
(Based on 2 Cor 11:18, 21-30 and Mt 6:19-23 – Friday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time)
A priest who knew of a man in his parish, who was greatly attached to wealth, wrote this letter, to him, exhorting him on the need to have God as the Greatest Treasure of his life.
“Dear Jim, I would like to propose to you two examples today – one from the Christian world and the other from the secular world. Do read through… and I pray that God will help you to make the right choices in life.
The first example is of St Francis de Sales who says that there is a wide difference between having poison and being poisoned.
He tells that all apothecaries (= a person who prepares and sells medicines and drugs) have poisons ready for special uses, but they are not consequently poisoned, because…
… the poison is only in their shop, not in themselves
And so you may possess riches without being poisoned by them, so long as they are in your house or purse only…
…and not in your heart!
The second example is that of King Midas, which I’m sure you are aware of…
This tale from ancient Greece tells of a king named Midas who did a good deed for a Satyr (a class of Greek gods) and was granted a wish by the GOD of wine, Dionysus.
For his wish, Midas asked that whatever he touched would turn to gold!
Although Dionysus tried to dissuade him, Midas insisted and so, and it was granted!
Excitedly, Midas went about touching all sorts of things, turning them into gold.
Soon Midas became hungry.
He picked up a piece of food, but he couldn’t eat it, for it had turned to gold in his hand!
‘I’ll starve,’ moaned Midas, ‘Perhaps this was not such a good wish after all!’
Midas’ beloved daughter, seeing his dismay, threw her arms about him to comfort him, and, she too turned to gold!
‘The golden touch is no blessing,’ cried Midas.
He cried out to Dionysus, begging the god to take back his power.
Dionysus instructed him to travel into the hills, and bathe at the source of the river Pactolus.
And sure enough, as Midas bathed, the power of the golden touch flowed into the water.
The water becomes speckled with tiny flakes of gold.
Midas left the river, free of his curse and feeling like a new man.
Greed and avarice made King Midas to consider gold as the greatest treasure.
However, life taught him the lesson for true happiness by making him realise the transient nature of worldly treasures.”
The priest concluded the letter with these words: “These two examples are set before you. Now you need to make a choice: God and His everlasting Kingdom…
… or the world and its transient riches!”
The Gospel of the Day present Jesus teaching us this great lesson of not being attached to earthly riches…
… and instead, to discover our true treasure in the Lord.
Our Blessed Lord says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal…” (Mt 6: 19)
Jesus points out to the futility of having our security on earthly goods by citing two similes:
• Moth and rust
Any possession or any wealth on the earth, has to face a danger from both these aspects:
Those which cause damage from within… Those which cause destruction from outside.
Moth and rust cause damage from within…
… they spoil money, render precious things useless and cause irreversible harm to costly goods.
Thieves cause destruction from outside…
… they loot valuable things, threaten lives for acquiring wealth and induce immense tension and worry.
However, the Lord says to place our treasure on things that are eternal and heavenly.
There is to be no fear of destruction: from within or from outside.
Moth and rust cannot affect them… Thieves cannot loot them.
That is why the Lord would assure to His disciples, later on in the ministry:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give you peace” (Jn 14: 27)
“…your hearts will rejoice and no one will take your joy away from you” (Jn 16: 22)
St Paul would later articulate this in his letter to the Romans:
“For I am convinced that neither death, not life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth…
… nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8: 38)
Jesus assures a treasure and wealth that cannot be either damaged from inside or can be destroyed from outside.
• There is total guarantee in placing our hearts on heavenly treasures.
• There is full assurance in letting our mind set on spiritual wealth.
What do these teachings mean for us?
Am I being forbidden to use wealth?
Am I being discouraged from having money with me?
Jesus goes a step beyond these queries and seeks to check our intentions and our attitude:
“For where your treasure is, there your health also will be” (Mt 6: 21)
• Is my heart constantly set only on worldly treasures and riches…
… and fails to, instead, give the prime place and honour to the Lord and set priorities for Him?
• Is my life constantly only worried about money, properties, gadgets and possessions…
… and fails to, instead, accord the rightful and due place to the Lord and concerns for Him?
Any of us can, at any time, fall into the desire to have the wishes that King Midas had: an attitude of avarice and wanting to have only wealth and earthly treasures.
But can I know and realise, that all such external possessions will not be able to assure my true peace and happiness?
Real treasure is to be cherished only by having the Lord as our only true possession!
Greatest joys of life come by clinging on to those realities which have eternal value!
The choice is before us: God and His everlasting Kingdom…
… or the world and its transient riches!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MOTHER MARY
The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.
By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.
At the announcement that she would give birth to “the Son of the Most High” without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that “with God nothing will be impossible”: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.”
Thus, giving her consent to God’s Word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus.
Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God’s grace.
As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.”
Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.”
Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary!” (Cf. CCC # 493-494)