Reflection for 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
First Reading: 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
Second Reading: Romans 8:28-30
Gospel: Matthew 13:44-52
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.
What is our reaction when we encounter the kingdom of God? The parable of the great pearl and the parable of the treasure seeker teach us that we must be willing to give up anything that is not part of the kingdom of God. Certainly, sin falls on this list. But, even things that are not sinful, seemingly ok, may pale compare to the value of the kingdom of God. These parables also tell us that it is only in Jesus Christ that we will be truly satisfied. When we truly find Jesus, we have everything we need!
The stakes are high. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Jesus is telling us that we will render an account before Him at the end of our lives. How does this effect the way we live our lives?
We learn at a very young age that our choices have consequences. So we pray in a version of the Act of Contrition “to avoid the near occasion of sin”. As St. Paul wrote that the wages of sin is death – spiritual death. There’s a sense of urgency is Jesus’s warning in today’s gospel. We need to be in “a state of grace”. This is only possible by the grace of God. The Holy Spirit moves us to confess our sins – to repent of our sinful ways. God’s mercy is so great in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that our sins are forgiven and we receive grace to avoid the near occasion of sin.
Today’s second reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans says: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. God loves us and is always working for our good, even through circumstances where it seems impossible.
Blessed are you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom (Mt 11:25)
May God bless us all always!