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Theology for the common man

17 Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The first reading praises wisdom as the greatest treasure that we may strive for in life. Salomon, as the son of a great king, David, chose wisdom as paramount in managing the Kingdom of Israel, as it guarantees stability and justice. He also indicated that God is the source of wisdom. We must do the same when managing our lives: with wisdom we must choose God as the greatest treasure and the foundation of our existence. We are reminded of this by today’s Gospel, where Jesus Christ continues his teachings on the Kingdom of God. Christ compares it to “a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy sells all he has and buys that field”, or to the merchant “who, when he found a pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it”. It was customary during the time of wars to bury treasure in the ground in an attempt to conceal it from thieves; if the owners of the land did not return, the land changed hands. Those working in the fields sometimes found the treasure and sold everything, even incurred debt, in order to purchase the land – and its hidden treasures. The treasure then became the basis of their new life. Similarly, a connoisseur of pearls – upon seeing a one-of-a-kind, most valuable pearl – sold his entire inventory in order to purchase the one he so treasured. He did so quickly, so that no one would buy it from under his nose. Christ used these real-life situations to explain the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, in this case: allowing wisdom to guide you so you may administer your life well, basing it on God as your greatest treasure. Compared with all other things we find valuable in life, God is like the most beautiful pearl; like a treasure we find buried in the ground. A treasure we must find everyday by getting rid of all our other possessions, those not worthy of our effort and dedication. The following example compares God to a net cast into the sea; a net that catches an enormous amount of fish. The good ones, we take – the bad ones, we leave behind. The last example compares God to the head of the family who takes old and new items out of his treasury and triumphantly demonstrates his wealth, accumulated thanks to wisdom and betting on God. I hope that we, also, may acquire this wisdom.