Homily (Reflection) for the Seventeenth Sunday of the Year (A) (30th July, 2017) on the Gospel

1Kg 3:5.7-12;
Ps 118:57.72.76-77.127-130 (R.V. 97);
Rom 8:28-30;
Matt 13:44-52 or Matt 13:44-46.

Ron DelBene was searching for answers in his life. Someone told him about a man in Los Angeles who has a reputation for being a very wise spiritual guide. On a business trip to the west coast Ron made an appointment to see this wise man....All he could think about was the upcoming meeting with the one who surely had the Answer.
He drove up the coast only to discover on arrival that the man was not there. The longer he waited the angrier he became. Finally the man arrived: “I don’t know which was greater, my anger or my disappointment”, Ron remembers. “This short, slightly built person didn’t look at all like the wise man I had pictured. He didn’t even have a beard!” ...Ron thought perhaps the teacher would place his hands on my head or heart and I will explode in ecstasy. But Ron didn’t. The wise teacher simply rattled off three things Ron should do. Before Ron had a chance to respond or ask any questions the Wise One left the room. Ron felt disappointed and disillusioned. He had travelled all that way and for what?
After Ron returned home, his wife, Eleanor, asked him about his meeting with the guru. She listened intensely to her husband’s every word. “He told me that there are three things I must do,” Ron said. “One, pray unceasingly. Two, go home and love my wife and children. Three, do what needs to be done.” Eleanor looked straight at Ron and said, ‘Thank God, someone finally told you that!” What the teacher told was true. “In retrospect,” Ron writes, the teacher “was a far wiser man that I appreciated at the time.”[1]
Topic: The Hidden Treasure.
Today’s gospel is made up of different parables. Our homily is based on the parable of the hidden treasure.
Treasure simply means something of great value to someone or where such things are stored. We read from the gospel, “… where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt 6:21, cf. Lk 12:34). Treasure is subjective. Hence, in the gospel according to Matthew we read, “The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil” (Matt 12:35; cf. Lk 6:45). Treasure can therefore be either something good or bad.
However, Christians are called to be as perfect as their heavenly Father (God himself), cf. Matt 5:48. We are called to look for that true treasure which is in heaven. Hence Jesus admonishes, “Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys” (Lk 12:33).
Only those who know the value of the hidden treasure can risk everything just for that. Unless one is ready to forgo everything just for the kingdom of heaven, he or she will not be able to make it. Hence, Jesus warned, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26). Saint Paul also said using himself as an example,
Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ (Phil 3:8).
Just like Ron, we may not appreciate the true value of the kingdom of heaven at this time. However, appreciating or not appreciating does in no way diminish or add to its value.
Bible Reading: Matt 12:33-37; 19: 16-30; Mk 10:17-31; Lk 12:13-34; Jas 5:1-6.
Thought for today: Do you look for this hidden treasure – kingdom of heaven?
Let us pray: God, give us all the graces that will help us not only to find that hidden treasure, the kingdom of heaven but also be able to forgo all for it – Amen.
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[1] Fuller, G. (2010). Stories for all season. Bangalore: St Pauls, p. 41

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