Sunday, July 27, 2014


(A biblical reflection on the 17th Ordinary Sunday, 27 July 2014)
Gospel Reading: Mathew 13:44-52 (short version: Matthew 13:44-46)
First Reading: 1Kings 3:5,7-12; Psalms: Psalm 119:57,72,76-77,127-130; Second Reading: Romans 8:28-30
The Scripture Text
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Matthew 13:44-52 RSV)
What is your “treasure”? What do you consider the most valuable thing you could possess? Throughout scripture, we see that God our Father wants to give us a treasure beyond all price if we but ask Him. King Salomon was called the wisest man on the earth because he asked God for wisdom and good judgment (1 Kings 3:5,7-12). Jesus’ parables frequently highlighted the “treasure” that God offers those who seek Him. The Psalms also direct us to seek treasure in God’s word, which is finer than gold (Psalm 119:127).
images (3)The man in the parable of the treasure hidden in the field eagerly set out to sell everything. Why? Because he found something worth possessing above all his other possessions. Fortunately, he only needed enough money to buy the field – not the whole treasure. In a similar fashion, God offers us the treasure of His Kingdom at a price we can afford!
We can’t pay the full price for the life God wants to give us. That treasure is the Lord Himself and life in His Kingdom, a Kingdom of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). In baptism we are united with Jesus in His death and resurrection. We become adopted children of God and temples of the Holy Spirit. This is something far beyond our ability to produce, let alone maintain. Only God can make us into a new creation.
Today at Mass, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the value of the treasure that God offers each and every one of us. Let’s set aside our earthly interests for a while – concerns about our friends, our jobs, our families, and what we will do with our free times – to spend time with the Lord. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with heaven’s treasure: life and communication with Jesus forever!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are my treasure and joy, my hope and consolation. Free me from all that would keep me from You. May I always find strength in Your word and delight in Your presence. Amen.
Jakarta, 25 July 2014 [Feast of St. James, Apostle]

A Christian Pilgrim

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