11th Week in Ordinary Time
The lamp of the body is the eye. (Matthew 6:22)
2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20; Psalm 132:11-14, 17-18;Matthew 6:19-23
Did you know that dozens of diseases that affect the body can be initially diagnosed by an in-depth eye examination? Diabetes, sickle-cell anemia, juvenile arthritis, and brain tumors are just a few. Just as our eyes can be windows to our bodies’ health, so too can our eyes be indicators of our spiritual health.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus makes this point just after he talks about how senseless it is to store up treasures on earth. And, as if to emphasize this connection, the first reading tells the story of Athaliah, the would-be queen of Judah.
Athaliah was the daughter of Jezebel and King Ahab of the northern kingdom of Israel. When her son Ahaziah died and she lost her claim to the throne, she tried to kill everyone who was in the royal line of David so that she could seize power. Her eyes were so fixed on becoming queen that she didn’t care how much evil she had to do to get there.
But Jehosheba, King Ahaziah’s sister and the wife of the high priest Jehoiada, saved the only remaining heir, one-year-old Joash, and kept the baby in hiding in the Temple. For six years, while Athaliah focused on stamping out the worship of God, Jehoiada kept his eyes and heart focused on restoring David’s heir to the throne. Through patient, careful planning, Jehoiada was able to install Joash as king. For her part, Athaliah was executed.
While Athaliah’s eyes were darkened with greed, Jehosheba and Jehoiada kept their eyes fixed on God’s plan of continuing David’s royal lineage. When the time came, they acted heroically, while Athaliah acted monstrously.
Throughout your day today, consider the spiritual health of your own eyes. Think about the things that your eyes focus on and how your heart responds to what you see. For instance, do you look at beautiful homes and expensive cars with envy? Do you look at homeless people with fear or disgust? Ask the Lord to help you see things the way he sees them. That is the way to a healthy spirit!
“Lord, I thank you for the gift of spiritual sight. Help me to see things through your eyes and with your heart. Help me keep my eyes full of your light.”~WAU