O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
whose mercy never fails:
deepen our faithfulness to you
and to your living Word,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
My soul shall glory in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look upon him and be radiant
and your faces shall not be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and the Lord heard me
and saved me from all my troubles.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
‘The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!’
Jesus said to his disciples: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
What do you consider to be the most important, most valuable thing in your life? What do you feel you could never live without? What do you treasure above everything else? These are undoubtedly much harder questions than they first appear.
When I am preparing couples for their wedding day we spend time talking through the promises they are going to make each other. We talk of the all-inclusiveness of those familiar words: for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. I also, at some point remind them that, on their wedding day, they will be publicly declaring that there will never be anyone more important in their lives than the person who is standing next to them as they say those words. Fair enough, you might well be thinking. But … then come the children!
Suddenly there is a ‘conflict of interest’. Children are, for the most part, born out of a couple’s love for each other. But, where do they sit in terms of importance and value? They are small and vulnerable, they are the couple’s own creation, they represent the future. It is often said: Our children are the most important things in our lives. But … what about the promises made before God and witnesses on the day of each couple’s marriage?
This reflection is not about the conflicts that arise in marriage, but this issue demonstrates how easy it is to find ourselves drifting away from Jesus’ teaching about that which we treasure. Whether our treasure can be identified as our spouse, our children or our bank accounts, we need to understand how wrong and distant from God those priorities make us.
In today’s reading Jesus is writing us a prescription for a healthy and productive life that is rooted in a strong relationship with God. It is not an easy pill to swallow. This prescription is going to give us moments of conflict and doubt. It may even leave us in times of great fear and uncertainty. But … if we can steel ourselves to take this medicine we will come to know the certainty of a joy beyond all measure.
Jesus is not calling us to neglect earthly responsibilities, but he is calling us to keep them in perspective. Jesus is still calling us to love and serve in his name. He is also calling us to put that, and therefore our relationship with God, before all else.
Let us pray for the strength to keep our priorities in good order. Let us pray that we might love and serve our fellow human beings above our bank balances and other worldly possessions. Let us pray that we might be healthy and vibrant members of Christ’s body on earth.
Prayers of intercession
Let us pray to God, who gives us the everlasting treasures of his love.
Keep your Church free from all that would harm her witness. Grant that all Christian people, being risen with Christ, may grow in holiness.
Break through the greed and complacency that are damaging the lives of many. Where there is strife for material possession, bring generosity and concern for the needs of others.
Give grace to us, to our families and friends, that we may see clearly the way in which we should walk. Increase our faith and make us a light to others.
Have mercy on those who have loved darkness rather than light and have fallen into the grip of evil. Release them by the love of the Son, raised on the Cross for sinners and raised from death that they might have life.
We remember before you those who have died. Grant them pardon and peace through the power of the Resurrection.
We pray in the name of Christ, our only hope and salvation.
Prayer for the week
your Son Jesus Christ came to make all things new.
Refresh us by the power of your Spirit,
that through the stillness of prayer
and the energy of service
we may discover afresh your call on our lives
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.