Gospel Reflection: Seventh Sunday
Malvern Minute

 

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JULY 30, 2017

ALLELUIA

Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;

You have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.

ALLELUIA

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew 13: 44-52

The kingdom of heaven is like…

Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. 

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.  When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets.   What is bad they throw away.  Thus it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

Do you understand all these things?”  They answered, “Yes.”  And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION by Monsignor Joseph T. Marino

Saint Matthew’s Gospel contains over 20 parables that Jesus used in his teaching about the wisdom and nature of God.  This is the third Sunday in a row that our holy Church has encouraged us to meditate and contemplate on these treasures and pearls of wisdom from the mouth of Christ.

The word parable is the English equivalent for the Greek word, parabole which was used to translate the Hebrew word, mashal.   Both the Hebrew and Greek words literally mean to put two things close, beside one another.  In this close association the instructor hopes that the one item will shed light or insight into the meaning of the other.  However, the real deep desire of the teacher is that the student or disciple will apply the comparison to his/her own life and make the application life-changing.  In the Gospel Jesus referred to commonly used objects and everyday life-situations to bring to light and understanding divine teachings and truths, so that one would intensify one’s desire for God and God’s ways.

After three weeks of parables whose meanings seem obvious to us, one could give to the Gospel only a nonchalant or even an indifferent hearing.  We can excuse ourselves by saying: we have heard this before, and/or, we know the meaning of this silly little comparison!  However, the purpose of the parables is not just to provide a better idea for the head.  The deeper reason why Jesus used parables was to provoke a change in hearer’s life.  In the case of these parables, Jesus wants us to let go of the perishable things of this world and to embrace the Kingdom of God, a way of life that begins now and lasts throughout eternity!  In the words of the parables, we are to be diligent seekers, passionate treasure hunters, who desire only what is valuable!

The first two of the parables have the same focus: the Kingdom of Heaven is such a valuable treasure that one who recognizes it as such will give up everything to possess itEVERYTHING!  In addition, the parables stress that possessing the Kingdom of Heaven gives to the discoverer the great gift of Joy!   Christian Joy is that incredibly deep experience of tranquility, peace and stability which believers experience because of their faith in Jesus Christ despite the ups and downs of life.

Possessing the Kingdom of Heaven is living in the unique way of the Gospel, living according to the values and practices of Jesus.  To live in this way is to live already in the Kingdom of God, and to possess already the Kingdom of Heaven.

One who lives in the realm of the Kingdom is a person who embraces goodness and in turn is good. The third parable identifies the seekers of the treasures and the pearls of the Kingdom as the good ones placed in the buckets: put what is good into buckets.   The bucket of eternal life is the destiny of all who discover the treasure of the Kingdom of Heaven and are willing to sacrifice everything to possess it.  Amen.

The Gospel is very challenging.   The Word of God asks directly:  How much do you value the Kingdom of God?  That is to say: How much do you value living according to the values and ways of Jesus Christ?  Are we willing to give up everything else in order to become the good, tangible presence of Christ in this world?

                             Do you understand all these things?

Encountering the divine physician, Jesus Christ

Healing of the Paralytic (Luke 5: 17-26)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

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