17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) Mt. 13: 44-52 - July 30, 2017

“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, sells all that he has and buys it.”

We usually think about wisdom, as seeing a type of a bearded and bald old man, in a laboratory or library full of books, not having time for anything but write and read. But we learn in the Holy Bible that wisdom is not a theory or something abstract. Wisdom is practical. It is to live in a right and wise way.

Our three readings for today give us a clue of God’s deep love for us. In the first reading from the First Book of Kings we hear the story of a man who made a good start as he became king of Israel. His name was Solomon and governed his people after his father David. In a dream Solomon was offered by God anything he desired. He could have asked for wealth or triumph over his enemies, but he did not. He asked for wisdom so he could rule prudently. It was a great choice and it pleased God. Do our politicians, military chiefs, civil and religious leaders, parents and teachers ask for this kind of wisdom? Do we ourselves ask for an understanding and compassionate heart, the ability of discernment to make proper decisions, to be honest to choose goodness, and fulfill our responsibilities?

I think a wise way to be responsible is to set the practical values in our lives. To ask and respond ourselves which are our goals, our priorities? What is really our life project?

The responsibilities we have in our life are a heavy burden. Saint Paul, a wise and holy man wrote in his Letter to the Romans: “We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him.” It is wise to trust completely in God as the source of all good gifts, and place our lives and worries in his hands and pray always for his help.

Our second reading today speaks about predestination. But predestination cannot eliminate free will. Predestination is God's choice to share his love and happiness with us. We are called to share the image of God's Son, and therefore to be holy. In other words: we are predestined to share God's goodness, but we have the freedom to reject this goodness.

In praying for the gift of discernment we come to a deeper knowledge of who we are, and of what God wants us to be. And wisdom is to understand and accept God's individual predestination for us. Then we are aware of our strengths and talents, and of our weaknesses and limitations. When we realize the love God has for us, and how precious we are for him, then we have found the treasure and the pearl of great price.

Eight hundred years ago, two young people, Saint Francis and Saint Clare gave away everything to gain the hidden treasure. Francis and Clare transformed their lives and Europe, making the 13th century one of the most brilliant ever. When we find Jesus Christ, as our great treasure, the wisest way is to sell everything and buy the priceless field of our faith.

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