17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130; Romans 8:28-30;Matthew 13:44-52
of joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44)
Have you ever noticed how much effort some people put into identifying themselves with certain groups? From social clubs to frequent-flyer programs, from parish committees to social networks, we are all looking for some sense of belonging. But the problem is, for every group that has welcomed you, there are even more that won’t. This is why the gospel truly is good news: Jesus welcomes everyone, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, slave and free. He has established a group where no one ever has to be turned away.
We often read the first two parables in today’s Gospel as accounts of a person’s joy at discovering the kingdom of God. But we can also read them as pictures of God’s joy at “discovering.” With great joy, God sacrificed his greatest treasure, his Son, in order to bring us to himself. Such a high price shows us how deeply he wants us to belong to him.
God doesn’t let us into his kingdom reluctantly. Believe it or not, you are a treasure to him! This can be hard to believe sometimes because it’s not the way we usually look at ourselves. But you really are like treasure hidden in a field, out of view, not recognized. It’s only when God’s kingdom is revealed that you will be fully unveiled—but even now, God sees the beauty in you, and he rejoices in it.
This passage isn’t just about us. It’s about every single person God ever created. He paid the exact same price for each of them, from the greatest saint to the worst sinner. No one is excluded; no one is rejected; no one is barred. That treasure hidden in a field? It has a wide variety of gemstones and precious metals in it. Not all of them shine as brightly—at least not now. But each one is of immeasurable value to our Father. You are, and so are the people who are very different from you.
“Father, thank you for giving everything to bring me into your kingdom.”~WAU