Wednesday of the 17th Week of the Year

Matt 13:44-46

Parables of the Kingdom

In Palestine in the days of Jesus ordinary people used the ground as the safest place to keep their most cherished belongings, especially money and jewelry. They had no safe, no vaults to keep their priceless possessions. It was a common practice because Palestine had always been an embattled country and people had to move from place to place because of the violence of war. People would not bring all their possessions with them, and so would bury them in the ground, hoping that a day would come when they could return and regain their hidden treasure. However, during the real owner’s absence it could happen that an enterprising treasure hunter would be digging the ground hoping that there is money and other valuables therein. If he could find something, the law says that it belongs to the finder. That is also like discovering heaven! Jesus said that heaven is like a buried treasure. We have to look for it and possess it once we have it. In this parable the point is the joy of the discovery that made the man willing to give up everything to make the treasure his own. Nothing else really matters.

Pearls and jewels fascinate many people, especially ladies. Jesus likens heaven to a pearl. It is the only pearl of great price. There are many fine things in the world in which a person can find loveliness. A person can find loveliness in knowledge and in the riches of the human intellect, in art and music and literature, in sports and all the triumphs of the human spirit. He can find loveliness in serving his fellowmen. He can find loveliness in human relationships. These are all lovely, but they are all of lesser loveliness. They too are pearls but the supreme pearl is the kingdom of heaven. Sadly, many people still prefer to own worldly pearls. Some have created other idols to adore. If we have emptied our hands of our idols, it is so that God may fill them with His splendour. (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Ask a Filipino what his/her greatest treasure is and the “family” would most likely be a favourite answer. Close family orientation makes us distinct when compared to other cultures. I would not be an exception to this.

I consider my family as my greatest treasure. From them I draw strength and inspiration. We’ve been through different ups and downs yet the love that unites us despite the distance continues to grow deeper and the bond that we have for each other keeps us together. Indeed, without them, I could not have become an SVD.

The irony of it all however is that i would soon be leaving my family, my greatest treasure, to become a full-pledged religious SVD missionary. I may have to learn a new language, live in a totally different culture and endure the sacrifice of not being able to see my family for years. Indeed, if we consider the criteria set by the world, my decision is ironic.

But there is beauty in irony and this is precisely manifested by our gospel today. Our Lord urges his listeners to discover treasures way beyond the limited and more often than not, selfish criteria set by “contented people.” If we open ourselves to His invitation and His messages, our eyes will behold greater treasures. And this is exactly what i have experienced. One may asked, “You mean you’ve found a treasure greater than your family?”

“Yes, the treasure of being able to make others feel and experience all the good which i have encountered with my family.” The greater treasure lies not only in experiencing my family but more so in the chance of sharing these experiences to others. (Frt. Roger Solis, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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You have heard, I am sure, of the so-called treasure hunters in quite a number of places in the Philippines. Many of them pursue and dig for the treasure of Gen. Yamashita or even the gold supposedly amassed and buried in several places by the late President Marcos. (Even church authorities were not immune from the lure of these fantastic riches – as seen from the permit of diggings under cathedral and seminary floors!) and these treasure hunters claim certainty because of smudgy indicator maps, of relatives of long-dead Japanese soldiers who had allegedly claimed participation  in hiding the Yamashita gold, of gold bullion deposit certificates in Swiss banks peddled by syndicates out for a fast buck. I haven’t heard any credible story of any person or group who could claim success of finding such treasures.

The parable today from Matthew’s gospel speaks of a man who stumbles on a treasure buried in a field. He carefully hides it again in the same field. He sells all he has in order to buy that field and retrieve the treasure in his own sweet time. The parallel parable speaks about a merchant who searches and trades in fine pearls. When he finally finds the pearl of his dreams, he sells all that he has and buys that greatest of all pearls.

In both instances, there is a hint of great satisfaction, a great closure in their life – one has found a treasure that will sustain his whole life, the other has found the greatest pearl that crowns his career as a pearl merchant.

Each man must have spent a lot of time and effort in looking for this treasure, for this finest pearl. We can surmise that the search was a lifetime, the effort was relentless.

Don’t you think that a lot of what we can learn from these parables should also characterize our longing and search for Jesus Christ in our life? Our search for Him should be a lifetime, our effort too should be relentless. And when we have found Him, we are prepared to let go of everything we have in order to be assured of Jesus’ presence. For then He will be the sole satisfaction in our life.

Our whole life then should be a careful preparation for Christ, so that when the moment comes, we will not miss that supreme opportunity – we will recognize Christ, the Treasure buried in our own life; we will find Christ, the Pearl of great price. (Fr. Ted Gapuz, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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July 27, 2016 Wednesday

Fr. Jose Vicente Braganza SVD, our former novice master and philosophy teacher, told us repeatedly, “In order to be known, one must be either a great thinker or a great lover.” For St. Augustine, however, it was not a case of “either/or,” but of “both/and.” Yet the way to greatness was not easy.

In his youth St. Augustine searched for what was really precious and lasting. For truth he delved into philosophies which were enticing but dangerous. For beauty that he could love passionately and for always, he sank into a dissolute life. Yet, while he was “sowing his wild oats” he felt an immense abyss in his life, a yearning so intense that more than once he exclaimed, “I was in misery, and misery is the state of every soul overcome by friendship with mortal things and lacerated when they are lost…Thou hast made our hearts for Thee, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”(Confessions)

He was fortunate to have a mother who, borne by her faith in God and love for her son, prayed earnestly and shed tears copiously for so many years. By the grace of God and through the unwavering faith of a loving mother the son received the blessing of a true conversion.

When he finally saw the light, St. Augustine gloriously proclaimed as one who had discovered at last “the treasure buried in a field”, “Late have I known Thee, O Beauty ever ancient yet ever new, late have I known Thee.”(Confessions)

The world has been truly blest with the gift of a St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, who—in the words of Fr. Braganza—was an extremely great thinker and equally a passionate lover of the Beauty that is truly divine. ( Fr. Florencio Lagura, SVD U.S.A Bible Diary 2016)

http://rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/786-july-27-2016-wednesday?month=7&year=2016

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The scripture readings for today speak about wisdom, wealth and treasure. The merchant in today’s gospel is not you and the pearl of great price in today’s gospel is not God. The merchant in today’s gospel is God, and you are the pearl. You are the treasure that God has discovered. What the parable says is this: God saw you and no matter what people say about you, that is, that you are ugly, that you are good for nothing, hat you are a bad husband or a bad wife, that you are a pain in the ass and a pain in the neck, God saw a great price in you. No matter what people say about you, the Bible says to you today, God saw you and God saw a great treasure in you. When God saw you, God could not rest! Hindi mapakali and Diyos until He was able to get you. He could not be stopped because He wanted to pay for your sins, to ransom you back and to claim you back for Himself. That is wisdom. You are the pearl; you are the hidden treasure, no matter what people say. I want to assure you now when God saw you, God was so restless about what He found. No matter what people say about you, when God saw you, he almost jumped with joy, His eyes brightened up, He gave a huge loving smile and said: “this is the pearl – the treasure I’ve been looking for.” What did God do? God gave you Himself. God gave up his life. God died in exchange for you.

Your spiritual life will not make any progress if you keep thinking that you must pay for the treasure. Your spiritual life will not progress an inch if you keep thinking that the kingdom of God can be exchanged for all your assets put together. Jesus did not teach that. What Jesus taught is this: He is the merchant! He discovered you. When He found you, He did everything to claim you, He staked everything, he sold everything, He gave up everything so that He can claim you back to His tender loving heart. Remember this, your spiritual life will begin not when you think you love God but when you are absolutely convinced that God loves you and that you are His pearl. You are His treasure; you are the apple of God’s eye. (Bishop Socrates Villegas, Love Like Jesus, p. 141)

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The gospel today compares the kingdom of heaven to a hidden treasure or to a pearl of great price. We can apply this comparison not only to the faith which we received but also to another gift that a person can receive — the calling from God.�

We should see a divine calling, such as a vocation to the priesthood or some other form recognized in the Church, as something of value. It a great gift of God. It is like winning in the lotto. If you win, you protect your winning stub. So with the calling. We should protect it. We should not rashly expose it to being lost or destroyed. Those who receive a calling from God should strive to be faithful to all the requirements of their state in life. (CBCP Online, July, 2002)

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field.”  In order to gain it, the discoverer of the treasure “sells everything he owns and buys the field.”

This parable tells us that we must give top priority to the things of God.  It is not enough to make our Christian life “compatible” with our worldly ambitions.  We must be ready to subordinate everything else to what God is asking from us.  To gain the kingdom of heaven, we must be ready to sacrifice everything.  Yet such a sacrifice is worthwhile because the kingdom of heaven is the only treasure that can fill us with happiness and that can never be lost. (CBCP Online, July, 2000)

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Reflecting on the two parables about the kingdom of God, we have several things to dwell on:

  • The consolation of welcoming God. Palestine was a place wracked by war, and so it was the custom of the rich to secure their treasures by burying them. Buried treasures often consisted of many things. Pearl, in the meantime, was widely regarded as a symbol of beauty. In comparing the Reign of God to a buried treasure, and to a pearl of great price, Jesus underlines that one who welcomes God in life does not only go through a spiritual experience. God radicalizes one’s whole life: he makes the person discover His various God-given talents (“Treasures”), and the innate beauty (“pearl”) of his person and life! Testimonies of persons who have gone through conversions show how their acceptance of God changed their outlook of self and of life. These persons began to see new potentials, new horizons. Is this true with your own relationship with God?
  • Various ways of meeting God. The buried treasure was stumbled upon by the farmer; the pearl of great price was discovered by prudent search. For some, knowing God is a natural flow that came from being born and from growing in a God-fearing family; for others, knowing God was the produce of a struggle for meaning.
  • The experience of – hidden after being found. The buried treasure was hidden again. Many times this, too, is the way we experience the peace, joy, and happiness of being with God. It comes then it is lost. God at times intentionally hides the “treasures” of being with Him so that we may continue to long for them. Human nature is such that a thing of beauty when it becomes common place and ordinary, becomes a thing that is taken for granted.

“Dark nights” and “dry moments” of spirituality can then be, as Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross expounded in writings – acts of God for our own deepening and spirituality.

  • Dedication and detachment: go and sell all! Whichever way we encounter God, the important thing is to be able to keep the relationship with Him. This means detachment from all… and attachment to God first. This means dedication.

One must let go of all that could hamper the reign of God in one’s life – vices, attitudes, outlooks, etc.

  • Joy: the most important measure of authenticity. Both the finder of the buried treasure and the merchant who traded all for the pearl of great price had joy in their heart for what they did. Joy means what one has decided upon is truly God’s – for God is a God of peace and consolation (Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP New Every Morning New Everyday, pp. 232-233)

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v. 45: “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.” What is Jesus emphasis here, the merchant? His act of searching? Or the fine pearls? All of the above.  We all need to have the desire for what is valuable, look for it, and trade what we have for it. God’s kingdom should mean everything to us (Fr. Ching OP).

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WEDNESDAY OF THE 17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – MATEO 13:44-46. Nakaplagan na ba nato ang Gingharian sa Dios? Sa teolohiya, ang “Gingharian sa Dios” nagpasabot sa usa ka kahimtang sa kinabuhi diin ang kabubut-on sa Dios mao nay gisunod sa mga tawo. Ang duha ka mugbong sambingay ni Kristo nagsaysay mahitungod sa duha ka tawo nga mosugot mawad-an sa ilang katigayonan aron lang maangkon ang bahandi ug mutya nga ilang nakaplagan. Ingon ani ba usab kabililhon ang Gingharian sa Dios para kanato? Makatubag kita’g “Oo” kon mosugot na kita nga makuhaa’g ginansya aron makahatag og saktong sweldo sa mga empleyado, o kon mabalibaran na nato ang kwarta nga ihatag isip bayad sa usa ka imoral nga buhat, o kon makamao na kitang magsakripisyo para sa kaayohan sa uban. Diha lamang sa pagtuman sa kabubut-on sa Dios nato makaplagan ang Iyang Gingharian. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2014/07/wednesday-of-17th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

WEDNESDAY OF THE 17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MATEO 13:44-46. NAKAPLAGAN NA BA NATO ANG GINGHARIAN SA DIOS? Ang “Gingharian sa Dios” mao ang usa ka kahimtang sa kinabuhi diin ug kanus-a ang kabubut-on sa Dios maoy gisunod sa mga tawo. Ang duha ka sambingay ni Kristo nagsaysay mahitungod sa duha ka tawo nga mosugot mawad-ag katigayonan aron lamang maangkon ang bahandi ug mutya nga ilang nakaplagan. Ingon ani ba usab kabililhon ang Gingharian sa Dios para kanato? Makatubag kita’g “Oo” kon makamao na kitang magsakripisyo para sa kaayohan sa uban. Pananglitan, mosugot kita nga mogamay ang ginansya aron makahatag og saktong sweldo sa mga empleyado, o makuhaan og tinigum aron itabang sa kabos nga masakiton. Si William Law nag-ingon: “If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will, in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/07/wednesday-of-17th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Reflection for Wednesday July 30, Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 13:44-46 – Reflection: Every now and then we hear news of rich and famous people committing suicide. We can’t help but ask, why did they end their life? They almost have everything, this is what we think from outside looking in, that they almost have everything; but do they really have everything?

If they have everything why would they end their life? They may have everything that this temporal world could offer them but a very important component of their lives is missing and it is the Kingdom of heaven which is God.

Many of us aspire to be materially rich and famous but when we get rich. And we almost have everything that this world could offer us we find out that something is still missing in our life. Who or what is this missing link in our life? HE is Jesus and to find HIM is to find our greatest treasure and most  precious pearl.

But how could we find Jesus if we are always busy with our many worldly undertakings? How could we find Jesus if we seldom listen to HIM in the silence of our hearts?

Our lives will never be the same once we truly find the greatest treasure and the most precious pearl which is no other than Jesus.  Posted by: Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/07/reflection-for-wednesday-july-30.html

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reflection for Wednesday July 27, Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 13:44-46

Reflection: What are you willing to give up for Jesus?

A lady in her late 20’s who was working in a high paying job in a bank. Her parents thought that she was already settled in her job until she’ll have a family of her own and eventually retires.

They suddenly had the shock of their lives when she told them that she would resign from her job and enter a convent to be a nun. After a few months she resigned and entered the convent. Years passed by until she became a full pledge member of a congregation of nuns. Amidst the secular life that she was in, the lady left everything to follow Jesus in her vocation.

In the gospel, Jesus gave the disciples two parables about the kingdom of heaven. The first one was the parable of the treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. The second one was the parable of the merchant who was searching for fine pearls. When he found the pearl of great price, he sold everything that he has and buys it.”

In both instances the individuals involved left everything they have and sought after the kingdom of heaven. It was an easy decision for them to make because they saw the hidden splendor of God’s kingdom.

The trappings of this material world often times present itself as the doorway to our happiness. We chase it and after we caught up with it we find out that happiness does not reside there. We end up still looking for that elusive happiness and contentment in life.

The big mistake of most of us is that we equate our happiness and contentment with the material things of this world. True happiness, contentment and peace can only be found in God. He is our hidden treasure; He is our pearl of exceptional quality. –  Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/07/reflection-for-wednesday-july-27.html7.27)

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July 29, 2015

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Ex 34:29-35, Mt 13:44-46

(For the Homily on the feast day of St. Martha, please scroll down)

OF GOD

Traditionally we interpret the treasure and pearl as the symbolism of kingdom of God. And we must sell everything to possess it. But can we buy the kingdom of God? In fact the ‘kingdom-experience’ is a gift of God to us. If so, there could be another explanation for this passage.

Treasure in the field: We each one are the treasure hidden in the field. We are hidden under the weight of our weaknesses, sinful nature, personal worries, etc. Jesus is the one who searches for us. Once he finds it out, He sells everything for redeeming us. St. Paul says, we are bought with a price (I Cor 6:20). We become becomes ‘of God’.

Merchant searching for pearl: At the time of Jesus a pearl was not considered so valuable like diamond or any other jewels. But the merchants used to come to Galilee in search of it. Here in this passage, the merchant is Jesus Christ. And we are the pearl that has no much value in front of the world. Once He finds it out, the pearl becomes ‘of God’.

Kingdom of God could be explained as the experience of feeling ourselves as ‘belongs to God.’ Or we can say that Kingdom of God happens when we grow to a state where we can say “We are of God.” Living the ‘Kingdom of God’ gives us value and dignity. It gives us freedom from the shadow of sin. Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2015-07-29

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MY GREATEST TREASURE – The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field which a person finds… – Matthew 13:44

In January 1991, my officemate, Perci, invited me to their weekly prayer meeting. I obliged and joined their worship and listened to the talk. During the sharing portion, I had the boldness to share, “I feel that this is where I belong.” I felt I was home and they were my family.

the years as a member and servant of The Light of Jesus Family, I’ve learned a lot from the teachings, seminars, workshops and trainings of the community. I’ve served in various ministries. I’ve found God in people I’ve met and in the service that I do.

I believe that I have found my greatest treasure — a personal relationship with God who loves me unconditionally, who forgives me unendingly, who searches for me untiringly, in a community that helps me in my journey to holiness and wholeness. Meann Tee (meanntytee@yahoo.com)

Reflection: What do you value most in life? Have you found your greatest treasure? God is searchable and reachable. He is waiting for you to receive His love and forgiveness.

Father, thank You for helping me find my greatest treasure — You. May I help others find theirs, too. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-07-27

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SPIRITUAL TREASURE HUNT – A classmate who lived near a big forest outside my hometown in Cologne, Germany once told us that his father mentioned to him that during World War II, some treasures had been buried in that forest, at a place called Steinberg. I knew that place but I had never thought treasures were buried there. So, one afternoon, three of us went into the forest and looked for the spot where the treasure was supposed to be. But we did not find anything.

Exciting treasure hunts are stuff for novels and movies. The search, the effort, the discovery — or disappointment when nothing is discovered — inspired writers of all times.

In Israel, it was common to bury money and valuables because banks did not exist yet. Since Jesus took His parables from well-known realities, probably all who listened to Him had heard stories of people who had accidentally discovered a treasure and then bought the field. According to Jewish law, the find became the possession of the buyer.

Of course, the treasure and later the “Pearl of great price” stand for the discovery of God’s Kingdom. The question is: Do we consider ourselves so happy and privileged, so full of joy, because we have “found” the treasure and the pearl — the Kingdom of God? Most of us did not even have to search for it because our parents had us baptized already when we were babies. Unfortunately, many take for granted their belonging to Christ and to the Kingdom. I will never forget the profound joy of a Japanese lady whom I was able to baptize in my parish. How happy she was! She later became the most faithful parishioner because, as she told me, life is too short to thank the Lord enough for letting her find Him and becoming His adopted daughter.

That should make us traditional Catholics think. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: How valuable is your belonging to Christ and how does it show in your daily life?

Lord, enkindle in me more joy, gratitude and enthusiasm for having received this treasure without searching for it. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-07-27

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July 27, 2016

REFLECTION:

The following scenario is a typical success story of our times. Our hero—let us call him Joe—is a young man with a curious mind. He likes to tinker around in the family garage and explore new combinations of electronic wirings and signals. He finds that images can be converted into electrical signals, transmitted electronically, and then reconverted into images. In other words, Joe is aware that he has discovered television. What does he do then? He sells everything he has, borrows all the money he can and builds a television set. Is he crazy? No, he is merely investing all he has into something which will eventually make him fabulously rich.

Christians throughout the ages have behaved like Joe. At some point in their lives they have discovered God. Many of them knew about God, but had never known him directly through a personal spiritual experience. But now that they know God, they want to know him infinitely more. And they gladly sacrifice all their belongings to this end. Are they crazy? No, Jesus tells us in today’s gospel reading. They are only shrewd investors. They know that any sacrifice made for God always pays off handsomely.

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3597-july-27-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 17th Week of the Year

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