Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It is not often that I focus my reflection on something other than the Gospel, but as I have said to you before, when a scripture passage strikes you, pay attention – it could be God speaking a personal message to you. Well, the first reading from Jeremiah is a case in point for me. It starts with an invective against the shepherds of Israel who were deceiving God’s people: “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD!” That sentence really caught my attention – in particular, the very first word - Woe! It’s a powerful word spoken by Jeremiah as God’s prophet to warn these so called leaders of God’s people of impending affliction, misfortune, calamity or disaster to come if they don’t change their ways! God had given them responsibility for keeping his people on the “right path,” but they became more interested in politics than in God, so much so that Jeremiah was compelled to speak out against their disloyalty, for which he later paid the ultimate price of martyrdom.
This brings to mind one of Jesus’ moral teachings: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matt 6: 19-21). Do you ever think about what you treasure - i.e., what you value most in your life? Author and leadership guru Ken Blanchard, with whom I worked back in my Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield days, would tell our managers: “The most important thing in life, is to understand what is most important!” In saying this, he wanted us to realize that the decisions we make on a daily basis are mostly based on what we believe to be most important. Consider the Gospel story of the rich young man who asked Jesus: “Master what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said: “You know the commandments...,” upon which the man said: “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Then Jesus said: “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions (Mark 10: 18-22).
My friends, being aware of what we value - i.e., what we “treasure” will help us understand whether we are traveling along the “right path,” the one that leads to heaven. What do you treasure? Who is your shepherd? If it is Jesus, then as the psalmist proclaims: “…, there is nothing (you) shall want.”