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Reflection On the Gospel Matt. 13. 44-52 - 17th Sunday In Ordinary Time (Cycle A) By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P.

Reflection On the Gospel Matt. 13. 44-52 - 17th Sunday In Ordinary Time (Cycle A) By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P.

Greetings from Fr. Isidore Clarke, on 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Today I'm going to reflect on its Gospel, (Matt. 13. 44-52).

In today's two parables Jesus gives us a new angle on the Kingdom of Heaven.He knows we all love to find a bargain –either by accident or a lengthy search.

Firstly, Jesus draws on the custom of people hiding their valuables in the ground, when they feared someone would steal them. They hoped to be able to recover their treasures, as the need arose. But, sadly, such precautions could misfire -when the only one who knew the secret whereabouts of his valuables died, before he'd recovered them!

Then, many years later, someone might accidentally stumble across his hidden wealth. That's what happened in this parable. The man then bought the field so that he could acquire the treasure he'd discovered there.

In our own time, this could also happen if a ship, laden with bullion, sank in a storm.Then, centuries later, a scuba diver accidentally discovered it. He would need to sell all his possessions to raise the funds to recover the lost sunken treasure -if he judged such a sacrifice was worthwhile.

This parable tells us that some people do stumble across the Good News of the kingdom, without looking for it.Meeting a committed, loving, caring Christian may touch their hearts and open their eyes to the wonder of God's Kingdom. They may be moved by the hope and sense of purpose Jesus has given His followers.That, they realise, is something they must have.And they will gladly make any sacrifice to get it.

In the second parable, about the pearl of great price, it's not a question of someone accidentally discovering something precious, but of his devoting his life to finding it.He's a pearl merchant, who knows what he wants, and when he discovers it he realises that it's worth more than all his other pearls put together. Shrewdly, he's prepared to sacrifice everything he has in order to obtain that one precious pearl.

That pearl merchant represents all of us, who are seeking the greatest possible happiness.Like him, we can appreciate so much that is good and beautiful in life.But we are restless and dissatisfied until we discover God, who alone can satisfy our deepest longings. St. Augustine famously sums up our restlessness in this search, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."

But when we do discover where our true happiness lies we should be like the two characters in these parables.Neither of them was a reckless, foolhardy gambler. They appreciated the outstanding value of what they'd found and after careful consideration decided it was worth more than the sum of all their other possessions.

Both were single minded; both were prepared to sacrifice absolutely everything in order to gain the treasure they'd found.Like them, we must appreciate the wonder of what we've discovered –for us, the Kingdom of Heaven –and go for it with all our hearts.It's worth any sacrifice, even our very lives!

That's very different from pushing religion to the fringe of our lives and only following Jesus into His Kingdom, if and when that's convenient and undemanding!

Isidore O.P. 

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