“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Matthew 6:21
The Word of God for today’s Mass invites us to take a long look at our true self. St. Paul invites us to do this when he “boasts” about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. And Jesus invites us to do this by asking us to take a deeper look into how we live, when he asks us the question: what do we value? He concludes by saying that our values will tell us where our heart is.
I learned about boasting in grade school. By the time I got to seventh grade, there were cliques that followed the social makeup of the city. There were the athletes who boasted about their accomplishments in sports. There were the nice-looking girls who were the popular ones of the school. There were the sons and daughters of the important people of the community, the children of the mayor, the doctors and business community. There were the smart ones, who “aced” every exam and were the “teacher’s pets.”
There was a lot of boasting going around when we were just “hanging out.” No one had to teach us how to boast. We also learned the competitive art of boasting: my accomplishment is better than your accomplishment. It was then that I discovered that life was never going to be simple. If you were going to get ahead in this world, you needed to learn how to boast.
The reason why the following of Jesus is counter cultural is because it is. David Brooks, a well-known columnist, wrote a book entitled, “The Road to Character.” In it, he talks about the men and women who have left their mark on civilization, and how they mastered the tendency to boast and thus discover where their heart was. They learned to value what was truly of value.
Our Scripture readings for today Mass helps us to take a serious look at our inner self. We are invited to learn the difference between boasting and our true self. We can love ourselves only because God first loved us. We love the other, the friend and the enemy, because God loves them as well. No matter how important we are, or how intelligent we are, or how well-off we are, we will someday come to realize that it is God who gives us our worth.
No one ever boasts about their failures, as St. Paul did. We want to make things seem better than they are. We want to “spin” a difficult situation into a better one. We want to lessen our responsibility in making bad decisions. St. Paul invites us to look at our failures in order to see the hand of God in our weakness.
When Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be,” he is helping us to reflect on how we live our life. Where do we spend our time? Where do we spend our money? Who is important to us? What do we value? As we answer these questions, we will discover where our heart is.
June is known as the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Where do you think Jesus’ Heart is? Who did Jesus treasure in his life? Do we boast that we are disciples of Jesus Crucified?
May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ be always in our hearts!
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Immaculate Conception Community in Chicago, Illinois.