SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle A/Year II (July 26, 2020)
1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12/Rom 8:28-30/Mt 13:44-46
In the gospel for this Sunday, the Kingdom of Heaven is compared to the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price. The parables tell us that somebody has discovered such treasure or pearl and he sold everything that he had and bought the field where the treasure was hidden or the pearl of great price. It is very clear in the parables that the Kingdom of Heaven is a priceless treasure. All of us are expected to discover such treasure and that after discovering, we have to sell all that we have and buy it. There are then three important things that we have to do in Christian life.
First, we must discover the Kingdom of Heaven. We are all fascinated by the stories about the kingdoms here on earth wherein the prince and princess live in a luxurious life under the care and protection of the queen and king. In the gospel, Jesus is introducing us to another kind of kingdom and this kingdom is not found on this earth because it is not material but rather on heaven because it is spiritual.
There is King in this Kingdom who is the King of kings, Jesus Christ our Lord and there is also Queen who is His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Life in this heavenly kingdom is totally different from the earthly kingdom. There are no more foods, parties, swimming, etc. Life there is what is called the total union with God which brings forth the fullness of like and eternal happiness. This heavenly kingdom is totally superior to the earthly kingdom as there is no more pain, no more sickness, no more problem, no more sadness, and no more death. Rather, it is the presence of pure blessedness.
Second, we must sell everything that we have to be able to buy such heavenly kingdom. This means that we have to make use of all that we have within our capacity so as to acquire the kingdom of God or to enter it. What are the things within our disposals? Our talent, money, property, work, position, relationships, strength, and very life – all these we must cleanse and purify so that we can use them in order to achieve our goal. How to purify them? We need to examine how we use all the things that God has gifted us with.
If we use them in accordance with our whims and personal desires, then most probably, we are using them in the wrong way. Worse, when we use them for bad or sinful purposes. When we use them in a wrong or evil way, then we need to purify ourselves by asking forgiveness from God for the evil things we have done. Then we must redirect our purposes and intentions, making use of all our gifts not in accordance with our personal plan but in accordance with the plan of God.
Third, when our plans are aligned with the plans of God, then and only then can we make use of them for us to acquire the Kingdom of God. How do we use our gifts for the Kingdom of Heaven? The first thing we have to do is to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We cannot choose what to obey; we rather have to obey all the teachings of Jesus, whether they are convenient for us or not. Then, we need to do all things for the love of God.
The ulterior motives of our actions must always be the love of God, not the avoidance of punishment in hell, not even the price of heavenly kingdom. Then, we must glorify God and worship Him always. We need to give time to prayer where we meet Him in the most intimate way. Ecclesial prayer especially in the celebration of the most Holy Eucharist acquires special place as in it we not only meet Jesus sacramentally but also receive Him through the Holy Communion of His sacred body and blood.