29, జులై 2023, శనివారం

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

 

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

INTRODUCTION

Dear brothers and sisters, two significant questions arise from the readings of the day: What is invaluable and indispensable ; how to attain and sustain it. Thus, Today’s readings drive our attention to the fact that if there is anything that we should consider  invaluable and indispensable most in this life it must be God because He is that Eternal Wisdom that was revealed to Solomon;  He is the Eternal Treasure and Pearl that fills the hearts of those who encounter him with an inexplicable joy.

The readings are thus meant to help us retrace our steps and to reinvest our energies to searching for God, attain Him and to be ready to lose ourselves for Him in order to sustain Him. Because when we consider something invaluable, we spend our time and energy to pursue it no matter the amount of hurdles on the way, we face, we withstand and we achieve. So, What can we give up today as an exchange for God? This is the question particularly that requires a sincere response from each one of us.

  1. The Element of Surprise:

“Ask something of Me and I will give it to you.” This was a surprise request from God to King Solomon God which the king had not expected. Even Jesus said, Ask and It will be given to you.  Thus God revealed himself as a caring father who is ready to give from his infinite riches to his children. This was in fact to fulfil the promise made to David by God. On the other hand Solomon too surprised God with the type of request he made. He requested for wisdom which he considered primary.

In the Gospel, we are presented with the parables of the buried treasure and that of the costly pearl. Jesus elsewhere said, Seek and you will find it. In the first parable  The treasure stumbled upon, it was a moment of great opportunity, while the pearl was discovered through a lengthy search, referring to the fruit of one’s hard labour; but in both instances, the farmer and the Merchant were filled with Surprise as well as joy.  Whether the opportunity comes, because of our Parents (in the case of Solomon), or unplanned opportunity or as the result of one’s effort. Life is full of surprises, we never know God can surprise us through different means.

  1. The Will to Sacrifice:

When Solomon says, “Give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people and to distinguish right from wrong,” he does not ask for strength, nor for riches, nor for a good life for himself, nor for triumph over his enemies.  Instead, King Solomon seeks wisdom, a capable mind to be Just and understanding in order to serve the people.

The two finders in the Gospel, there was no second thought in them. They immediately perceived the incomparable value of what they found and resolved to lose everything  to acquire them. But why would Solomon not ask for riches and strength and why would farmer and merchant need to sell everything? As St. Augustine said, What counts is that one must lose something in order to have it. The scriptures tell us that when one truly comes in contact with the richness and beauty in God, he will certainly start anew by renouncing the old self and emptying whatever false treasure he had been living with; the things that are incompatible with the new life. Yes, when we discover Jesus and his vision of life, everything else becomes secondary.

This is exactly what St. Paul meant when he said: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as nothing, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Therefore, King Solomon, the farmer and the merchant tell us one thing, that we need to be aware of what is invaluable and primary in our life and family, and be ready to lose all other secondary, unnecessary appliances that burden us.

  1. The Sublime Joy:

We see dear brothers and sisters, God blessed Solomon beyond limits, with an unlimited blessing. Along with the gift of wisdom, he was blessed with riches, strength and peace in the kingdom and with other foreign kingdoms. His reign was considered a golden age and unprecedented prosperity for the nation of Israel.

The farmer and the merchant, both were filled with deep-seated joy that spurred their subsequent actions. They are overwhelmed that they have discovered what he was looking for.

Jesus is that Eternal Wisdom, Treasure and the Pearl whoever possesses him, will subsequently possess the eternal Joy and richness of blessings .

Dear Brothers and sisters,  Some of us might find God through miraculous events in our life, like the treasure stumbled upon by the farmer. There are others who have to go through nights of labour like Peter in Luke chapter 5, passing through rough experiences of life until we finally encounter him at the dawn of the day, similar to the lengthy search by the merchant.

However, we are chasing false treasures such as money, status or pleasure, and often, we are locked into regrets over the past, or focused too much on the future. As a result, the enriching present passes us by, and the treasure is never discovered. Thus, the really valuable pearl of life, family, present moment and God above all is not found. Therefore, we need to have a heart to sacrifice, but Jesus is not asking us of an extraordinary thing. No! He is only concerned with that particular thing; that false treasure we hold high esteem needs to be eliminated. Jesus tells us today that we’ve got to exchange them for God because they are the things that render us ‘scrabs’ in the net of God instead of good fish.

Let us always remember that Heaven, the Blessing, the love of God, the wisdom, treasure and the pearl is within the reach of all of us, as the second reading puts it   “all things work for good for those who love God.” Let us use our time and energies to go in search of that treasure and help others in their search.

 

 FR. JAYARAJU MANTHENA OCD

 

 

 

 


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