Last year (Church year that is) I had some fun with the Catechism in a Year mailing list, so this year, it seemed natural to sign up for studying the Gospels in a Year, a short daily reading accompanied by notes from the Ignatius Study Bible.
Today, this little verse from Matthew 6:22 popped up. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” What is that supposed to mean exactly, if your eye is sound? Is Jesus warning us not to trust our eyes? Well, that can definitely be a problem sometimes, as the Pink Panther once learned firsthand…
Actually, according to the Ignatius Study Bible, “the eye is the lamp” is “an ancient metaphor (Tob 10:5; Prov 15:30; Sir 23:19),” one which references the poetic concept that our eyes are the windows to our hearts and minds. In other words, what we focus our vision on (metaphorically speaking) is what our hearts treasure. In the context of Matthew 6, Jesus is using it “to advocate generosity. Those with evil or unsound eyes are stingy with their belongings (Deut 15:9; Sir 14:8-10; cf. Mt 20:15); they are full of darkness (6:23). Those with sound eyes share their goods with the needy (4:7); they are filled with light.”
So if your inner eyes are focused on your own selfish desires rather than on helping others, then you need a little spiritual help. However, if your problem is that your actual physical eyes are seeing things like the Pink Panther did, perhaps a psychiatrist might be of more immediate benefit.
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