17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
1 Kings 3:5:7-12
Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
Jesus says, “The kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure” so valuable that one who finds it “sells all that he has” to be able to obtain the treasure.
What do you see as valuable? It might be monetary value but let’s think beyond that. What is important enough to you that you arrange your schedule around it?
Is it sports, plays, or music concerts? Is it work? Is it your fun time or being able to take a vacation? Maybe you want to sleep in on Sunday morning? How about your phone? Can you go an hour without checking your phone? How about fishing or a round of golf?
Would you give up all of these things (i.e. sell all that you have) to enter the kingdom of Heaven?
What could be more valuable to us than eternity in Heaven?
The challenge is that we like to think that Heaven is a ways off, and that we will live a long time before then. Right now we have to live in this world.
God offers us treasures to help us in this world. For example, when Solomon became king, God said, “Ask something of me and I will it to you.” Solomon did not ask for a long life, riches, or revenge. He asked for an “understanding heart”, hence the “wisdom of Solomon.”
Wisdom and understanding are gifts of the Holy Spirit that God offers us to help us know how to live in this world.
In our psalm response today we sang, “Lord, I love your commands.” Do we really love God’s commands? Do we see them as “more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces”? Do we see God’s decrees as “wonderful”?
Again, God’s commands are his way of guiding us on how to live in this world. We should not see his commands as burdens. When we do not understand them or if we disagree with them we should not discard them. If we love God and his commands, then we need to put some effort into learning more about them.
One of the ways we do this is to study God’s Word in the Bible. That’s what we are doing right now! We just heard readings from the Bible and now I seek to help you understand what they mean for us today.
This is why, as Bishop Matano wrote in his pastoral letter for our Year of the Eucharist, that we should seek to come to Mass every Sunday, to receive the treasure of God’s Word. I know things like a football game (or practice), a round of golf, or just sleeping in might be more fun than coming to church but what do they do to help you know the “Kingdom of Heaven”?
As if God’s Word isn’t enough there is still more treasure to receive at Mass. It is the Eucharist, the very Body and Blood of Jesus. It gives us strength to live like Jesus. It is not just bread and wine. As the Body and Blood of Jesus, it is a treasure to be cherished.
That’s why we have “rules” about receiving Jesus. We need to take it seriously, to do our best to follow Jesus. It’s also why the “rules” say that non-Catholics are not to receive Communion. To receive one needs to understand the Eucharist as a treasure.
The whole Mass is a treasure of receiving God’s blessing. God blesses us with abundance. That’s why we are called to come before it starts and not leave until it is completely over. Yes, the greatest treasure comes in the Eucharist but after Communion comes a final blessing. Every blessing is a gift from God to be treated as a treasure. Even the recessional hymn is important as we give praise to God for the treasures He has given us.
Are you ready to sell all that you have to receive the Kingdom of Heaven?