From the Pastor's Desk
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary time
Today’s readings teach us keeping a personal relationship with Christ and sharing his view of life are the most beautiful, the most precious things in the world.
The first reading tells us how the young King Solomon opted for the great treasure of accepting God to rule his life by doing God’s will. That is why he requested of God for the gift of prudence, “an understanding heart to distinguish right from wrong, so that he might govern God’s people properly. Yahweh was pleased with his request and granted him a wise and discerning heart which enabled him to surpass everyone in wisdom.
In the second reading, Paul teaches that wisdom to perceive God's grace and use it, is essential for those who want to follow Him and to do His will, thus remaining in His Kingdom. He assures Rome’s Christian community that “all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
In the Gospel, using three mini parables and one concluding parable or simile, Jesus teaches us that God’s Kingdom (the rule of God in us, accepting Jesus as our God and Savior, putting our Faith in God and doing His will), is something of extraordinary value, like a hidden treasure or a costly pearl, and that possessing it calls for a total commitment to preserve it. The Kingdom of God is God’s reign in our hearts, in our lives, in our homes, in our society, and in our world. Only those who develop a searching mind and a heart willing to give up everything for the great treasure of God’s Kingdom will be rewarded. Through the first and second parables of the treasure and pearl, Jesus teaches us that identifying God’s will and living according to the Gospel (both with His grace), are the most precious and worthwhile things in life. Through Jesus and his Gospel, we come to know and understand the real meaning of life, the will of God for us each day, and the most important things we must do to secure our eternal salvation.
1) We should live every moment in view of our precious goal. Most of the time, we are chasing false treasures such as money, social status or worldly pleasures. Thus, the really valuable “pearl” of sharing in God’s life through Jesus here on earth and later in Heaven, is never found. Let us always remember that Heaven is within the reach of all of us who try to do the will of God, following the ordinary vocations of life and enjoying this world's joys and pleasures within the framework of God's Commandments. When we do this, we are already living in the Kingdom of Heaven while we are still on earth.
2) We need to take all precautions to keep our greatest treasure safe: We will be able to keep safe the treasure of our personal relationship with Jesus by accepting him every day as our God and Savior, by allowing him to have total control over our lives through our loving obedience to his will, by asking him daily for the strengthening and guidance of his Holy Spirit, by talking to him daily in prayer, by listening to him in our meditative reading of the Bible, by getting reconciled to him and others every day, asking pardon and forgiveness for our sins, by offering Him our lives on the altar during the Holy Mass, and by allowing Him to nourish our souls frequently, by receiving Jesus in Holy Communion.