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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 17th (A) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Kgs 3:5.7-12): The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, «Ask something of me and I will give it to you». Solomon answered: «O Lord, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?».

The Lord was pleased that Solomon made this request. So God said to him: «Because you have asked for this, not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right, I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you».
Responsorial Psalm: 118
R/. Lord, I love your commands.
I have said, o Lord, that my part is to keep your words. The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Let your kindness comfort me according to your promise to your servants. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

For I love your command more than gold, however fine. For in all your precepts I go forward; every false way I hate.

Wonderful are your decrees; therefore I observe them. The revelation of your words sheds light, giving understanding to the simple.
2nd Reading (Rom 8:28-30): Brothers and sisters: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Mt 11:25): Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; for you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 13,44-52): Jesus said to the crowds: «The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. The one who finds it buries it again; and so happy is he, that he goes and sells everything he has, in order to buy that field.

»Again the kingdom of heaven is like a trader who is looking for fine pearls. Once he has found a pearl of exceptional quality, he goes away, sells everything he has and buys it.

»Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a big fishing net let down into the sea, in which every kind of fish has been caught. When the net is full, it is dragged ashore. Then they sit down and gather the good fish in buckets, but throw the worthless ones away. That is how it will be at the end of time; the angels will go out to separate the wicked from the just and throw them into the blazing furnace, where they will weep and gnash their teeth».

Jesus asked, «Have you understood all these things?» «Yes», they answered. So he said to them, «You will see that every teacher of the Law who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom is like a householder who can produce from his store things both new and old».

«A treasure hidden in a field; a trader who is looking for fine pearls»

Fr. Enric PRAT i Jordana (Sort, Lleida, Spain)

Today, our Gospel is helping us to look inside us, to find something hidden in there: «The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field» (Mt 13:44). When we speak of a treasure we are always referring to something of exceptional value, of extreme importance, not to things or situations that, even though valuable for us are, nonetheless, nothing but futile and worthless refuse, for this is what temporal satisfactions and pleasures actually are: what so many people are striving to find outside, to end up totally thwarted, once experienced.

The treasure Jesus announces here is flowing in the midst of our soul, in the very nucleus of our being. It is the Kingdom of Heaven. It consists in lovingly finding, in a mysterious way, the Source of life, of all beauty, truth and goodness, and to remain united to the same Source until, our pilgrimage over and free of all useless trinkets, the Kingdom of Heaven we have been looking for in our heart and have fostered with faith and love, blossoms forth like the glowing flower that lets its hidden treasure appear in all its splendor.

Some, as St. Paul and the same good thief, unexpectedly run into the Kingdom of Heaven, without any previous thought, because God's ways are infinite, but, normally, to discover this treasure, we have to purposely look for it: «Again the kingdom of heaven is like a trader who is looking for fine pearls» (Mt 13:45). Maybe this treasure is only to be found by those difficult to be satisfied, or who do not make do with what they got, i.e. by idealists and adventurers.

In our temporal order, we tend to qualify the eager and unconformists as ambitious persons, but in the spiritual world, they are the saints. They are those willing to sell everything to buy the field, as St. John of the Cross points out when he says: «That you may possess all things, seek to possess nothing. That you may be everything, seek to be nothing».

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