Living in the Word for July 26, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,
The Gospel of this 17th Sunday also speaks to us, through three short parables (the treasure hidden in the field; the merchant in search of fine pearls; and the drag net), about the Kingdom of God. By way of these stories, Jesus invites us to think about the style of our life.
Is our life a continuous search for holiness? Is it the “indulgence” of our way because of which there aren’t good results? We all have before our eyes desire for consumerism, which makes life a search for only material well-being. As for the ultimate goal of life is concerned and how we will be judged at the end of our life, we don’t seem to have much interest. If that is the case, then, that would be a great evil.
We all know that when God created us, he put us in this world to seek the holiness of life which is our only true and eternal realization. Unfortunately there is an incredible number of people who choose “unsteadiness” to cover the emptiness they feel in themselves. But it is also truly interesting to know the number of “Blesseds” and “Saints”, even of our own time, that the Church recognizes and places before us, so that we may venerate them and follow their ideals. They are the great witnesses of the Kingdom of heaven, who help build Christians of today.
It is enough to have eyes, capable of looking beyond the shadows and haziness of the world, to see the number of people of all ages and conditions who really make Jesus their treasure. Maybe they don’t make news, but they arouse a lot of admiration when we meet them in person. It is a blessing to meet them and it still great to know them and to discover with them how the “hidden treasure in the field”, which is Jesus, is found. It would be enough to visit some Houses of Prayer to experience the joy of seeing these men and women, young people and families, who turn their life into one of a search for Heaven. “Saints” know how to find and live holiness in silence, in self-giving, in detachment from a world. Unfortunately, the world seems to only long for fun – which is a “market of emptiness” or worse still, of the abuse and exploitation of the weakest. But those who participate in it, sooner or later, feel and experience the emptiness in themselves, because they realize that, after the noise, only the bitterness of a wasted-life remains.
Today, then, it is really worthwhile, in the face of this vocational problem of holiness, to ask the question about the meaning of our life and to understand that holiness is the truth of our life. It is the testimony that is presented to us today in Solomon, which gives us all a great lesson in life. Let us hear again and make our own the question that young Solomon asked God and let us listen to the words of the Lord as if it were addressed to us: “The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night”. God said: “ask me what you want me to grant you.” Solomon said: “… I am just a boy; I don’t know how to regulate myself … Grant me your servant a docile heart, so that it can do justice to your people and to know how to distinguish good from evil; in fact, who can govern this so many of your people?”
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him: Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but you have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I grant you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you”. (1 Kings 3, 5-7-12)
Solomon’s words interpret well the thought of Jesus, that is, to consider life a service and not a triumphalism that is full of pride. In the Gospel, Jesus, in fact returns to the need to give first place to the daily search for the Kingdom of God. This is then the only great Good, immense Good – that which gives true meaning to life and before which all what we seek reveals itself for what it is: harmful rubbish.
Jesus returns to invite us to look at the true treasure of life: holiness, which means to live with him and in him, in simplicity, in service, and with joy. Pope Francis insists a great deal on joy. He writes in the apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium: “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew” (No.1)
Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ (No.2). Certainly, this is not the life of those who have found the hidden treasure: JESUS.
Let us pray that we may always search for Holiness and live for Christ who is our only true Treasure.
Have a blessed weekend!