17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we finish up reading Chapter 13 in Matthew but we will get to that later. We begin by hearing from one of the historic books of the Bible they run from Joshua and the settlement in Jerusalem to the Maccabeean revolt in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles. In the Hebrew Bible these book are the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) and some of the writings (Ruth, Esther, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles).

In the first book of Kings (3:5,7-12) today we met up with Solomon who is asleep and the Lord appears to him in a dream and says “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” This is a huge thing “ask me for anything” sure Solomon could have asked for anything in the world but he is humble in his response saying “Lord, God I’m only a young man and don’t know how to act. Yet, I will someday become King of your chosen people who are as to large to be counted.” Solomon goes on with this royal talk for a bit and they he decides what he should ask for. “Give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people and distinguish right from wrong.” The Lord likes this request Solomon doesn’t ask for his enemies to die, for a long life or even riches. Would we be like Solomon and be able to ask for something for the betterment of our fellow man or would we want something to make us better. This is similar to our prayer life.

As we turn to Paul’s letter to the Roman (8:28-30) we hear Paul preaching that we should follow God as “all things work for good for those who love God.” Paul talks a bit about predestination in the general sense that we are all made in the image of his Son and we should follow in his footsteps. Now Predestination in the Catholic sense is a pretty simple thing to understand we are all predestined for salvation and no one is predestined for damnation.

Continuing on in Matthew’s Gospel (13:44-52) we hear a couple more parables this week. These four parables are short and are all about the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field and the person who finds it give up everything just to have it. Then again it’s like a merchant searching for a fine pearl and when it is found he gives up everything just to have it. Moreover the kingdom is like a net thrown to sea which collects all fish and brought to shore for sorting so to will the angels come and sort the righteous from the wicked. Finally Jesus end with on last one “the scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from the storeroom both the new and old.” I don’t really understand this last one but the others are easier to get. In the earlier two we hear that an individual is searching for the finest pearl and find a buried treasure these things are our faith and we should be able to give up everything for our faith unless we want to end up like the bad fish and thrown away.

For many of us in the world today religion has become that minor thing that we do, for some of us it consists of going to Mass at least once a year on Christmas or Easter others claim to be nor religious but spiritual whatever that means. This is not right our faith should be something that we should treasure like a fine pearl and it should be something we share with others as the mustard tree which grows to an enormous size and there is room for animals to perch in all of its branches Matthew 13 is a beautiful chapter to read and reminds us of what is important.

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