17 June 2022 – Friday of Week 11

Friday of Week 11

1st Reading: 2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20

The life of prince Joash is saved from Athaliah’s fury

When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she set out to destroy all of the royal family. But Jehosheba, King Joram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s sister, took Ahaziah’s son Joash, and stole him away from among the king’s children who were about to be killed and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus she hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not killed. He remained with her six years, hidden in the house of the Lord, while Athaliah reigned over the land.

But in the seventh year Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carites and of the guards and had them come to him in the house of the Lord. He made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the Lord; then he showed them the king’s son.

The captains did as Jehoiada the priest commanded; each brought his men who were to go off duty on the sabbath, with those who were to come on duty on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. The priest delivered to the captains the spears and shields that had been King David’s, which were in the house of the Lord. The guards stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the south side of the house to the north side of the house, around the altar and the house, to guard the king on every side. Then he brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, and entrusted him with the covenant; they proclaimed him king, and anointed him; they clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”

When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she went into the house of the Lord to the people; when she looked, there was the king standing by the pillar, according to custom, with the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!” Then the priest Jehoiada commanded the captains who were set over the army, “Bring her out between the ranks, and kill with the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest said, “Let her not be killed in the house of the Lord.” So they laid hands on her; she went through the horses’ entrance to the king’s house, and there she was put to death.

Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people, that they should be the Lord’s people; also between the king and the people. Then all the people of the land went to the house of Ba’al, and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces, and they killed Mattan, the priest of Ba’al, before the altars. The priest posted guards over the house of the Lord. So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been killed with the sword at the king’s house.

Responsorial: Psalm 132

R./: The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling

The Lord swore to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
Your own offspring
I will set upon your throne. (R./)

If your sons keep my covenant
and the decrees which I shall teach them,
Their sons, too, forever
shall sit upon your throne. (R./)

For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he prefers her for his dwelling.
Zion is my resting place forever;
in her will I dwell, for I prefer her. (R./)

The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. (R./)

In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David;
I will place a lamp for my anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but upon him my crown shall shine. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 6:19-23

Not laying up earthly treasure where moths and rust corrode

“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!


Driven by desire

Athaliah was an ambitious, violent woman who murdered her own step-children in order to take the crown herself. She then tries to secure her power by corrupting the morals of the people. If they follow her lead, they will find new chances for wealth and luxury and enjoy the sensuous fertility rites of sacred prostitution in the temple she has built to Ba’al. Yet her people held to their innate decency, and seven years later the only prince who escaped Athaliah’s slaughter was crowned king. The high priest renewed the covenant between king and people, based on fidelity and justice. Athaliah’s reign of terror ended in ruin — an example of how moths consume and rust corrodes any security based on false values.

Jesus offers further ideals for our living. He advises us to have a “good eye,” to be guided by light so as to see goodness in the hearts of others. Rather than carping at their faults, our “good eye” recognizes the good in our neighbours. It is so much better to encourage than to criticise, to shed light than to spread gloom. He invites us to examine our personal motivation. ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ We need to discern what is noble and worth giving our heart to. In the course of life we are sometimes blessed with people who are a true blessing and mean a great deal to us. In fact, it is people who are our greatest treasure in this life.

As disciples, Jesus is our highest treasure, to whom we pledge our heart, mind and soul. When he is the one we serve, we store up treasure for ourselves in heaven. He is the pearl of great price, since he is Emmanuel, God-with-us. With St Paul we should be able to say, ‘I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord’ (Phil 3:8). To give one’s heart to Jesus does not lessen our love for others. Rather he causes our hearts to embrace all people, just as he himself embraces them.

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