Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 26
May God See within Our Hearts That We Have Given Up Everything for the Sake of His Eternal Name, and He Will Give Us Possession of That “Pearl of Great Price”.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field…a pearl of great price…like a net thrown into the sea.” And then Jesus asks, “Do you understand all of these things?”
I am sure that many if not all of us can attest to the fact that life on this side of Heaven is not always easy. And when our crosses seem heavy and we feel ourselves worn down, when we are feeling at our lowest, when we are emotionally or physically at our worst, it is difficult to look up with hope.
And yet, our faith teaches us to trust implicitly in a God whom we cannot see, to trust unreservedly in a God in whom we know is real and in whom we believe from the very depths of our hearts.
Even Saint Paul tells us today in our Second Reading, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
In faith, we believe that no matter what life may throw at us, no matter how many valleys of tears we may have to walk through or experience, there IS a God who loves us, a God who strengthens us, a God who will never let us walk alone!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us about the greatest of all hopes which awaits those of us who embrace His teachings, for the Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a buried treasure which gives great joy, a pearl of such great value that we would be willing to give up everything so that we may possess her, and a fishing net which gathers all of God’s faithful children to Himself.
And yet, what is it that this Kingdom of Heaven truly presents to us? What is it that we look for in this “pearl of great price”? It is the very Presence of Divine Love Himself! – our Heavenly Father who created us, our Savior who redeemed us, our Sanctifier who teaches and strengthens us and who fills us with His Love.
Even Saint Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, described Heaven as something which is beyond all human comprehension, with the words, “…eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Even our psalmist, in today’s Responsorial, sings of his great desire to always be near to his God and please him with these words of praise, “The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces…For I love your command more than gold, however fine.”
And it is the profoundness of this desire which should fill our own hearts, a desire which should always guide our thoughts, our words and our actions, so that we may be united to our Savior who gave up so much, in order that we may have life with Him, and “…have it more abundantly.”
And when our hearts are filled with this desire to be close to Jesus, when we place God at the very center of our lives, we find ourselves imitating our Lord in the act of His “kenosis”, a Greek word meaning self-emptying.
For the Eternal Son of God, in the very nature of His self-emptying, set aside the awesome nature of His Divinity so as to take upon Himself our human nature, with all of its weaknesses except sin, so that He may become the God-Man, so as to give Himself completely, to the point of abject humiliation and ultimate suffering on the Cross, so that each of us may be reconciled to our Eternal Father, so that you and I may become co-sharers in the eternal joy of His Kingdom in Heaven!
Even Saint Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, wrote: “…though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…” And Saint Paul goes on to say, “…he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.”
It is in our imitation of our Lord’s kenosis – His self-emptying – in which we find ourselves emptying from within our own human nature our own ego, our own pride, our own selfishness and arrogance, and we begin to take upon ourselves a life of grace – a life filled with virtue, with selflessness and with a Christ-like love for others.
And do we not see this in the example given to us by Solomon in today’s First Reading? Even in his youth, he showed humility, a true selflessness, desiring only to do what was best for God’s children, not caring for himself or his own glory. In Solomon’s self-emptying nature, in his own act of kenosis, he only wished to give God glory by praying for the gift of an “understanding heart.”
How could God not be pleased with his request? For it was Solomon’s act of humility which foreshadowed the self-emptying nature of Christ Himself?
And when we approach our Lord in the same way – with humility, with a selfless love for God and our neighbor – then we become that merchant who gives up everything in order to possess that “…pearl of great price.”
We know how difficult it can be to live in a world which is filled with so much materialism and secularistic thinking, a world which is filled with indifference to Christian moral values, a world which is filled with hatred, self-serving attitudes and unbridled ego!
And yet, our Lord is asking us to become as Christs in the world, to be the extension of Himself, reaching out with love and a selfLESS love, giving witness to Divine Truth itself, so that, prayerfully, through our example and our witness of discipleship, others may also come to desire and possess that same “…pearl of great price.”
There are those who have difficulty living and expressing their faith in a world environment which is sometimes so hostile to Christian values. In reference to this anxiety or uneasiness in openly living our faith, it is important for us to take a moment and reflect upon what our Lord had to say in the Gospel of Luke: “Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
Jesus never said that discipleship would be easy, and our Lord also mentioned that we could receive ridicule or persecution by giving witness to His Truth! Yet, in the midst of our discipleship, we know that God is always with us, that he never leaves us alone in the midst of trials and crosses we bear.
As you and I go forth to be as Christs in the world to those whom we love, especially our children and our grandchildren, and also to those whom we befriend in our everyday lives, as well as those who ridicule and persecute us, let us live our faith as our Lord invites us to live it.
And for those of us who persevere to the end, out of His immeasurable Love for both you and me, God will see within our hearts that we have given up everything for the sake of His Eternal Name, and our Lord will give us possession of that priceless pearl, a pearl of eternal life, eternal peace, eternal happiness – where “every tear” shall be wiped away.
And, with joyful Love, we shall hear Jesus say to us, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44)
- “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)
- “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.” (Matthew 13:47)
- “…eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9b)
- “The law of your mouth is more precious to me than heaps of silver and gold…Truly I love your commandments more than gold, more than the finest gold.” (Psalm 119:72, 127)
- “[Christ Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross…” (Philippians 2:6-8)
- “Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26)
- “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
- “And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)
- “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”(John 10:10b)
- “A voice from the throne said…‘[God] will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.’” (Revelation 21:3a, 4)
- “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34bc)
Prayer for the Day
“Our Eternal and Most Loving Father in Heaven,
may everything I do begin with Your inspiration,
continue with Your saving help,
and reach perfection under Your guidance.
“With Your loving Care, guide me in my daily actions,
and help me to persevere with love and sincerity.
Teach me to judge wisely the things of Earth
and to always love the things of Heaven.
“Your Spirit instilled in my heart that I am Your child,
and I am confident to call You my Father.
Keep me in Your Presence always
and never let me be separated from You.
“Please make Your Love and Mercy the foundation of my life,Anonymous
teaching me to long for Heaven as my eternal Home.
May its promise and hope guide my way on Earth
until I finally reach eternal life with You. Amen.”