⏰Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A (30 July 2017)

????1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Psalm 119:57 and 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130 (R.v.97a); Rom 8:28-30; Matt 13:44-523

Wisdom is a major theme that runs through the readings of today, especially the First Reading and the Gospel. We are all encouraged to seek this wisdom and possess it. The writer of the Book of the Proverbs noted thus, Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the one who gains insight. For she is of more value than silver and more useful than gold. She is more precious than pearls; nothing you could wish for would compare with her (Prov 3:13-15). Meanwhile, most often, in the Wisdom writings of the Old Testament, wisdom is closely associated with God. Anyone who chose to relate with wisdom is considered to have chosen God.

From the above, we can now see why King Solomon was praised for choosing wisdom when God told him to ask for whatever he wanted from God. King Solomon took over from his Father David at a time when the situation in the Ancient Near East could simply be explained as the survival of the fittest. Somebody could have thought that the wisest thing Solomon should have done was to ask God to make him very powerful financially and otherwise, and especially eliminate his enemies and opponents. Our present day leaders would at least have asked for all those. But Solomons choice of wisdom not only gained him wealth and fame but also relative peace. Historically, King Solomon a peaceful reign and never had to go on wars. The hand of the Lord was with him.

In the Gospel, the two parables of the treasure and pearls present the kingdom of heaven as something worth investing in. At a time in Palestine and among its neighbours, ordinary people used the ground as a safe place to keep their treasures (cf. Matt 25:25). Moreso, during the time of exile, many of those who buried their treasures in the ground were taken unawares and they abandoned their treasures in the ground. So it is not strange that a man discovers this field containing rich treasures. But the point is that this man sold everything he had to buy this field, and another, fine pearls. In the same way, we are to let go of everything we have in this world and seek the Kingdom of heaven.

Note that nobody is excluded from buying this all important field called the Kingdom of heaven. Yet, nobody who has sin can purchase those treasures. The Book of Wisdom says, Wisdom does not enter the wicked soul nor remain in a body that is enslaved to sin (Wis 1:4). And nobody can really make that option of going for the kingdom of heaven without wisdom.

By the way, selling off everything to buy the field or the fine pearls could be seen as leaving everything for the sake of the kingdom. However, that does not imply that one has to abandon his duties on earth. The Second Reading makes us to understand that we can turn everything we are doing to our spiritual advantage. Brother Lawrence, a great saint and mystic, should be our model on this. Amidst his duties at the dirty dishes of the monastery, he once declared, I felt Jesus Christ as close to me in the kitchen as ever I did at the Blessed Sacrament.

God is the one who directs and controls everything, even our life. If we seek him and have him in our life, he is sure to give us the comfort we need and in the end, eternal life.

May you not miss out in that eternal life. Amen. Peace be with you.

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