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Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 26, 2020

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 26, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

First Book of Kings 3:5, 7-12

Psalm 119

Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:28-30

Matthew 13:44-52

 

I have always been a big fan of movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Todays Gospel actually reminds me of a movie made in 1938 called, “You can’t take it with you!”  It’s about the relationship between an every-day working girl and her dating the rich heir to the company she works for.  The (stuffy) parents of the young man do not approve of the relationship and only care about their name in the society pages and the treasure of the almighty dollar.   In the end the young woman’s wise grandfather makes everyone realize that, well, “You can’t take it with you” and everyone lives happily ever after.   By the way, the movie won best picture and best director Academy Awards.

My friends, there is only One Treasure that brings true happiness and that treasure is Jesus.  The man in the first parable in today’s Gospel narrative found the treasure that is the kingdom of heaven, and went off happy.  If we are not happy we still haven’t found Jesus or the kingdom of heaven.  If you are not happy, my advice is simple; turn to Jesus for the happiness and joy that you seek.

In order to find this treasure we seek do we have to set out on some sort of journey or quest?  Do we need GPS or a map?  Well, yes we do.  You see, the journey is the journey into our own hearts, and the map has been given to us by Christ himself.  For directions do not search Map Quest, you will simply need to turn to the Gospels in the New Testament.

In the first two examples in today’s Gospel parables the two men sold everything they had to acquire either the treasure or the pearl.  Searching for Jesus and the kingdom of heaven means we face choices and have to make decisions, some of those decisions are difficult and at times we would prefer not to have to make them at all.  There will be passing treasures that in the short-term are tempting but don’t offer us the happiness we really seek.

A good example of this is in our first reading where Solomon passed up on fleeting treasures in order to have God’s wisdom in order to discern between good and evil.   For us this lies in our own “free will” as we discern between good and evil.  We have Jesus’ example to follow as we live a life of loving God and loving our neighbor.  Now there is the real treasure, Jesus Himself, for whom we sometimes carry our own cross in order to find Him and as a result of us bearing that cross we find real happiness in Him.  By carrying our cross well, and we all have one to carry, we will discover a pearl inside us, and of course that pearl is our precious Lord, Jesus the Christ.

Back to the two Gospel parables.  For me the finding is one thing, but buying the entire field is the central meaning of the parable.  No matter what we are searching for, if we keep digging we will find God.  When we buy into God’s plan and all that this relationship invites us to, is, for us, buying the whole field.  It is the buying of “eternal life.”

The second parable picture’s the merchant who knows what he wants – a pearl – and when he finds it he sells all that he has and buys it.  My question concerning this man’s actions is what does he plan to do with this newly purchased pearl?  I suspect he will gain something even more important to him by simply selling the pearl.  Was it just an investment opportunity?  Personally, I don’t believe he bought it just to look at and admire it.  Do you? 

Sisters and brothers, the entrance into the kingdom of heaven, that is the way of Jesus’ explanation, is the letting go or selling off of the importance of “our pearls” for the great pearl of allowing Jesus to be the Savior and Lord in our lives. 

For me Matthew’s Gospel ends as if Jesus is a professor at the end of a semester and asks His students, in this case His disciples, if they understood His teachings.  They answer that they do.  They do for now, but will learn deeper realities of Jesus’ teachings as they walk along with their Master during his public ministry.

Today’s parables are meant to open our minds, our eyes and our hearts to Jesus’ teaching.  May we always allow Him to be our Savior, professor, priceless pearl and treasure as he leads us, His new disciples, to His Father and to the heavenly kingdom. 

Question of the Day:  How will you recognize the “treasure” our Lord Jesus has prepared for you?

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, please fill me with hope as I seek You.  May my lifelong search for You reveal to me the mystery of Your mission for all your children.  As I discover You, help me to seek you all the more.  Jesus, I trust in you!  Amen. 

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our county and in our world.

Prosit

 

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