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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (Jer 15:10.16-21): Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth! a man of strife and contention to all the land! I neither borrow nor lend, yet all curse me. When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart, because I bore your name, o Lord, God of hosts. I did not sit celebrating in the circle of merrymakers; under the weight of your hand I sat alone because you filled me with indignation. Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook, whose waters do not abide!

Thus the Lord answered me: «If you repent, so that I restore you, in my presence you shall stand; if you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece. Then it shall be they who turn to you, and you shall not turn to them; and I will make you toward this people a solid wall of brass. Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, for I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the Lord. I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent».
Responsorial Psalm: 58
R/. God is my refuge on the day of distress.
Rescue me from my enemies, o my God; from my adversaries defend me. Rescue me from evildoers; from bloodthirsty men save me.

For behold, they lie in wait for my life; mighty men come together against me, not for any offense or sin of mine, o Lord.

O my strength! for you I watch; for you, O God, are my stronghold, as for my God, may his mercy go before me; may he show me the fall of my foes.

But I will sing of your strength and revel at dawn in your mercy; you have been my stronghold, my refuge in the day of distress.

O my strength! your praise will I sing; for you, O God, are my stronghold, my merciful God!
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 15:15): Alleluia. I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 13:44-46): Jesus said to his disciples: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."

“Out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Fr. Enric CASES i Martín (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Matthew places two parables about the Kingdom of Heaven for us to ponder over. The announcement of the Kingdom is of essence in Jesus' preaching and in the hopes of the chosen people. But it is evident the nature of this Kingdom is not understood by the majority. The Sanhedrin who condemned him to death did not understand it, nor did Pontius Pilate or Herod, and initially, not even his disciples understood it. We can find only in the good thief, hung on a cross along with him, the comprehension Jesus requests when he says: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). Both had been accused as criminals and were about to die; but, for some unknown reason, the good thief recognizes Jesus as the King of a Kingdom that will come after that terrible death. It could only be a spiritual Kingdom.

In his first preaching, Jesus speaks of the Kingdom as of a hidden treasure, the finding of which causes the finder a great joy and impels him to buy the field to be able to enjoy it forever: “out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Mt 13:44). But, at the same time, to reach the Kingdom it is necessary to look for it with yearning and effort, to the point of selling all one may have: “When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it” (Mt 13:46). “What is He referring to, when He says seek and he who seeks, finds? I daresay He is referring to the pearls and to the pearl, pearl that acquires he who has given up everything and has accepted to lose everything” (Origen).

The Kingdom is peace, justice and liberty. To reach it is, at the same time, a gift from God and a human responsibility. In front of the greatness of this divine gift we realize the imperfection and instability of our own efforts, quite often destroyed by our sins, our wars and our malice that looks insurmountable. Nevertheless, we must have confidence, because what looks impossible for man is more than possible for God.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “In this holy Catholic Church, formed by its teaching and living as we ought, we shall possess the kingdom of heaven and inherit eternal life. For the sake of this we endure everything, that we may gain that life from the Lord.” (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem)

  • “This Kingdom is worth giving everything for. It is the treasure buried in the field: the finder of the treasure buries it again and sells everything in order to buy the field, so to gain possession of the treasure.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “(...) This treasure [the Good News], received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ's faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.” (Catechism Of the Catholic Church, Nº 3)