Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle A Readings
1) 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
2) Romans 8:28-30
Gospel: Matthew 13:44-52 or 13:44-46
By Jem Sullivan
Catholic News Service
God desires our friendship. So much so that Jesus, the Son of God, willingly accepted suffering and death on a cross to reconcile the world to God.
I know this is the central belief of Christian faith. But do I really believe God wants to be “my” friend? Do I desire God’s friendship as much as God desires “my” love?
This Sunday’s readings invite us to reflect on our heart’s deepest desires and longings. We might ask, How would I answer the question that God poses to Solomon in the first reading? “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
As a powerful king of Israel and son of David, Solomon could have easily asked for wealth, long life, justice against enemies or more power. Instead, Solomon acknowledged, in humility, his utter dependence on God.
Convinced that a life of peace, justice and true happiness flows from doing what is right, Solomon prayed for understanding, for wisdom to know the right path in life. Wisdom was his treasure, his pearl of great price.
To understand and to live by God’s commands is to love God, as the psalmist prays in the responsorial psalm: “The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Solomon pleased God who granted his heart’s request with the invaluable treasure of exceptional wisdom.
There is a treasure hunter in all of us. We love to find a good deal, a bargain value, a unique prize or long-lost treasure, whether these show up in our attics, basements, yard sales, discount stores or personal belongings.
In the Gospel, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a treasure buried in a field that a person finds and hides again, then out of joy goes and sells all he has to buy the field. The kingdom of heaven, says Jesus, is like a merchant searching for fine pearls and when he finds a pearl of great price, he sells all he has to buy it.
Faith introduces us into God’s kingdom. Faith that leads to friendship with God and neighbor is an invaluable treasure, a pearl of great price. For by faith we see ourselves and the world as God sees — with love, compassion and mercy.
With eyes of faith we see, like Solomon, that the most important things in life are not power, prestige and possessions, but persons — God, family and community.
So, what am I searching for in life? In the face of God’s relentless offer of friendship, will we respond in faith saying, “Speak to me, Lord”?
“Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift. … To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be ‘working through charity,’ abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the church.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 162)
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Dr. Jem Sullivan, wife and mother, author and professor, writes on faith and culture in the new evangelization.