Fr Noel's Homily - 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Last Monday night, there was a fire in a hotel in the city of Bundaberg, in
Queensland. For most people it was just another fire, another hotel burned down.
But for me it was a tragedy. I spent the first twenty years of my life in the hotel. It was
our family home for more than twenty years. When I watched it on TV and then read
more about it in the Internet, it was a complete destruction of the whole building. It
was over 100 years old. I felt that I had lost something of myself and our family.
In today’s gospel, Matthew gives the last three parables. They are not about loss but
about finding the Kingdom in our lives. The first two parables give us an insight into
why Jesus told these stories. So, let us look at these two stories so that we can
understand more about the Kingdom of God in our lives.
The first parable is about a man finding a treasure in a field. He really could not believe his good fortune in finding this lost treasure.
He would most likely be a working man who had never seen such a treasure. So, he was overcome with joy in finding it.
The second parable is about a merchant who knew his way around the business
world. He was in search of fine pearls.
When he found a very precious pearl, he was over- joyed.
Part of the finding of the Kingdom is the joy we have in knowing that we have found something precious. The joy that fills their hearts is a sign that they are on the right path to the Kingdom.
Then there is another part in each of these stories. They still want to possess the
wonderful thing they have found. In order to possess what they have found, they need
to go away and sell everything they possess. They first of all find, then they can see
but they also need to possess. In order to do this, they must be prepared to go away
and sell everything they possess and then they can come back and finally take
possession of the treasure or the pearl.
If we were going to possess the Kingdom, then we will need to go away and sell
everything so that we can buy the field or the pearl. We can only come into the
Kingdom if we are prepared to give up all that we possess. This demands a
complete giving up everything. Then we will have a joy that no one can take away
Our journey to the Kingdom is find, to see and to possess.
The first reading about Solomon is important. He recognized that he was a young
and immature man. He asked God for the gift of Wisdom. God was pleased to heart
him ask for this gift and so it was granted. Let us ask for this Wisdom and be filled
with the gift of Joy that no one can take away from us.
Noel Mansfield, MSC
23 July, 2020