Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52

First Reading: Today’s first reading recounts the Lord’s appearance to Solomon in a dream, in which the Lord encouraged Solomon to ask for anything and the Lord would grant it. The story focuses on what should be of true value in life; namely, a desire and yearning for wisdom.

Psalm 119: Psalm 119 is a song of someone who — like Solomon — loves the Word of God more than anything else in life.

Second Reading: “All things work for good for those who love God” (vs. 28). Paul is not simply being optimistic or ignoring the challenges of life — he certainly experienced his share of those! Rather, he is expressing his profound faith that we are all in God’s hands, not only now but from the beginning of time and to the end of time.

Gospel: In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues to speak about the Kingdom in parables. The Kingdom is incredibly precious – a treasure, a pearl – and if we wish to attain it, we must sacrifice a great deal – perhaps even sell all that we have.

Reflection: It seems we human beings are always searching for treasure(s). We spend billions of dollars on lottery tickets each year hoping to hit the jackpot. Metal detectors enable us to comb beaches and parks for coins and other possible treasures. TV game shows are ever popular. Our search for treasure isn’t necessarily an indication that we are unhappy with our lot in life; it is an indication that we hope for more. So it is with our life in God. We have already been given so much – salvation in Christ, the promise of eternal life, and membership in Christ’s Body – and yet we know there is yet more to come. The promise of the treasure of God’s kingdom is nothing less than a share in divine life!

Today’s gospel includes three more short parables about the Kingdom of God. So often these parables about God’s kingdom take us to the end times and judgment, as illustrated in the first two parables by selling all to buy the field or the pearl of great price, and in the third parable by separating the good and bad fish. A judgment motif gives us a partial insight into what God’s kingdom is: his everlasting and just reign and presence. Thus, God’s kingdom is not a place or territory, but an exercise of God’s dominion and will over all of creation.

Moreover, the three parables describe different ways people find the kingdom – by chance, by diligent search, by careful discernment. Each situation we face in life requires of us a different, appropriate response. No matter which way we find the kingdom, two things are needed: first, the wisdom to recognize the surpassing worth of the kingdom when it appears (the same wisdom requested by Solomon of God in the first reading); and, second, the boldness to stake all on the kingdom (“sells all”). The gospel thus invites us to be wise and to be bold!

Question for reflection: How does my search for treasure hinder my discipleship and the treasures already received?

Copyright © 2017, Scott W. Eakins. All Rights Reserved.

1 thought on “Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A”

  1. Another aspect of these parables is that we be patient that our Father’s will be done; so much is out of our hands; hope is a gift of God (a theological virtue).

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