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Homily for Friday of the 11th Wk in Ordinary Time, 21 June 2024, Mt 6:19-23

Today’s Gospel makes me understand the expression, “His heart is in the right place.” The idiom is understood to mean “He has good intentions despite his flaws and mistakes.” Or “He has shortcomings but he is sincere and well-meaning.” We are still reading from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, and in today’s gospel reading, Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there also your heart must be.” Jesus is basically telling his disciples that a human being’s heart should beat only for people, never for things or material possessions. You don’t LOVE MONEY and USE PEOPLE. No. You USE MONEY and LOVE PEOPLE. To set your heart on passing things especially money is wrong; that’s when you have your heart in the wrong place.
There is still a second analogy in the Gospel: this time about the eye. It makes us understand another idomatic expression, “The eyes are the windows of the soul.” You want to know what is inside a person? It’s not enough to listen to his words or to interpret his body language. Look rather into the person’s eyes. It is through the eyes that we are able to get a glimpse of what’s in the heart. Maybe that is why Nora Aunor is regarded as an excellent actress. She can express her deepest emotions through her eyes.
Here, the Gospel says the eye is the lamp that brings light to the soul. But what can we do when the lamp is busted? Then it gets really dark inside ourselves. In Myanmar, they sell little amulet-looking ceramic pendants with the design of an eye in the middle. They call it a charm or a protection from the “evil eye”. In our own indigenous culture, I think this is what we call usog. With one look of an evil eye, they say you can get sick. And so we sometimes warn people in Tagalog, “Makuha ka sa tingin.” In English they also say this, “If looks can kill, you would long have been dead.”

Heart and eye—I think these two symbols are related. The eye can only bring light to the soul if the heart is in the right place. Did not the fox disclose this as a secret to his friend the Little Prince? He said, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” If the heart is full of hatred and resentment, of fears and anxieties, of envy and jealousy, what do you expect the eyes to see? They will not see blessings to be grateful for, or God’s hand at work in everyday life. They will direct the soul to be hateful, resentful and envious.

Very much like the characters that we heard about in our first reading, that shockingly violent passage in the second book of Kings about the power struggles in the royal families of ancient Israel and Judah, about what happened after the seventy sons of King Ahab were beheaded and their heads were put in a basket and delivered to King Jehu and the subsequent murder of the relatives of Ahaziah, and the gruesome massacre of Baal priests and prophets, and about the Queen mother Athaliah ordering the death of of the rest of the royal family after her son Ahaziah had died. I could not even get myself to say “Thanks be to God” after listening to that bloody passage from the first reading.

The moral is, we must take care to make sure that our hearts are in the right places if we want our eyes to give light to our souls and not doom us to a life of darkness.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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