Seventeenth Sunday In Ordinary Time, Year A
July 26, 2020 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
I Kings 3:5,7-12 | Psalm 119:57,72,76-77;127-130
Romans 8:28-30 | Matthew 13:44-52

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

There is a story I’d like to share with you today about a wise woman who was traveling in the mountains.  She stumbled upon a precious stone in a stream.  The next day, she met another traveler who was hungry and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.  The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him.  She did so without hesitation.  The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune.  He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.  But in a few days, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

“I’ve been thinking,”  he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious.  Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

Over the last few weeks, we have been revisiting the parables of Jesus.  As I mentioned in my last homily, parables were a form of writing used by ancient rabbis to teach their followers about God.  Parables leave you with the dilemma of determining the meaning and as you delve into them more thoroughly, you typically uncover multiple meanings or conclusions.

In The Parable of the Hidden Treasure, Jesus tells us about the unmeasurable value of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Believers are instructed to choose the pathway to the Kingdom of Heaven over all earthly desires such as riches, power, and lust.  Since so many people are captivated by the allurement of the earthly world, Jesus wants to enlighten all people to the love and grace of God where they will find ultimate peace and fulfillment.

In today’s first reading from Kings, Solomon asks God to help him serve his people justly, kindly, and with an understanding heart to which God granted his request.

Just as the Apostle James states:  “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously…and it will be given to you.”  God answers our requests that are asked for wisely, not selfishly.  The Book of James is the only Wisdom Book in the New Testament.  It is in the Jewish wisdom tradition which is found in Job, Proverbs, Sirach and Wisdom in the Old Testament.

In our second reading from Romans, Paul speaks to us about everything working out for the best for those who love God.  It includes our present pandemic, social injustice, joblessness, or any trouble in which you may find yourself.

Our Gospel today is another of Jesus’ Parables: The Hidden Treasure.  Jesus is teaching us about wisdom: to be like Solomon in our first reading.

Jesus’ Parable tells about a man who is walking around, not in his own field, but in more of an open plain, and he stumbles upon a mound.  When he digs into the mound, he finds a huge treasure.

Now, this was a common procedure in the period when Jesus lived on earth for people to hide their riches by burying them deep in the ground.

Sometimes, this treasure was forgotten due to life-changing events such as wars, or people moving or fleeing and their lives changed.

So this man has now discovered all the gold, silver, and riches that someone had collected.  But according to Hebrew law, whatever you find that doesn’t come from your field doesn’t belong to you.  So, being a clever man, he takes the treasure and hides it in another hole and then buys the field that has this hidden treasure.

Now, Jesus doesn’t comment on the dishonesty of this man, since Jesus wants us to focus on the man’s good fortune.

This man was willing to change his life for the hidden treasure.  And Jesus tells us, “Where your treasure is, there is your heart.”

What is your treasure?  Is it money, security, or to be loved, cared for, and forgiven?

And who is the one who laid down His life for us?  This is our great treasure.

Jesus had just finished a whole day in a boat sharing parables with the large crowds on the shore.  He wanted to teach us and His disciples the great worth of the Kingdom of Heaven.  He wanted all to know that it was worth far more than anything the world had to offer.

Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to one of the finest treasures of His day: a fine pearl

Jesus’ parable was about a young man who spent years at sea looking for hidden treasure and he left no seashell unturned until he found the amazing pearl.

So he sold everything he owned and bought it.

We are all searching for our own treasures.  Some of us are searching for wealth, so we can own whatever we want.  Some of us are searching for fame or power.  But can these things truly bring us happiness?

They may bring temporary joys, but they are only temporary.  The things of this world are limited to this world.  They will not go with us when we die.  They will not bring us everlasting life.

There is a treasure worth far more than the things of this life.  It is a treasure that Jesus compares to a fine pearl, which he says, is the Kingdom of Heaven.  And this is also God’s Word spoken through the Gospel.  It is meant for both this life and the life to come.

The Kingdom of Heaven forgives all sins and brings us happiness and fulfillment of life.

Let us look at our earthly possessions as blessings from God and realize that possessions are just that.  They are gifts meant to enhance our lives but do not make up our whole lives.  Our earthly possessions pale in comparison to heavenly treasure.  Nothing on earth can give us the eternal happiness that the Kingdom of Heaven brings us.

We all have the greatest treasure waiting for us…the Kingdom of Heaven.