17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A Deacon John McMullen
Solomon's request for an understanding heart show what seeking true happiness should be about. we all too often seem happiness in dry wells, in empty fields, in muddy waters, and in our fast and furious gropings, happiness eludes us.
Hawthorne wrote: "Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."
In the gospel note that the hidden treasure is discovered unexpectedly. the poor laborer is now wealthy beyond compare and his life is forever changed, so he sells all he has to buy that field.
Why did he buy the field?
Note that he does not gamble the money away; he makes an investment.
The second man is a wealthy merchant, seeking more treasure. And he discovers the pearl of great price.
Both men are called to the kingdom. poor and rich alike.
The third image is that of a net that captures everything, good and bad.
Note that the net contains righteous and sinners alike.
It is God's business to do the sorting out.
There is great joy here. the joy removes our desire to hoard, and compels us to give of our essence.
The kingdom cannot be bought or sold. It is a gift, a free gift, often surprising those who were not even looking for it. Yet the kingdom, though free, it costs us everything.
We are surprised by love. such love that gives and forgives.
In another way, it is Christ who has sold all he has to buy us back, to ransom us, we are the treasure buried in the field; He is the merchant in search of the pearl of great price; and he is the fisherman who hauls us ashore, good and bad junk in the nets of our lives.
The net is like the church too, full of good and bad fish and assorted stuff.
We, like Solomon, need to seek that which is holy, for wealth passes away.
Wisdom is forever, like the kingdom, which is Christ Himself.
He is the prize above all things.
May we seek Him in all things.