Treasures of the kingdom
What is your new life in Christ worth to you?
Do you love His words more than gold and silver, as we sing in today's Psalm? Would you, like the characters in the Gospel today, sell all that you have in order to possess the kingdom He promises to us? If God were to grant any wish, would you follow Solomon's example in today's First Reading -- asking not for a long life or riches but for wisdom to know God's ways and to desire His will?
The background for today's Gospel, as it has been for the past several weeks, is the rejection of Jesus' preaching by Israel. The kingdom of heaven has come into their midst; yet many cannot see that Jesus is the fulfillment of God's promises, a gift of divine compassion given so that they -- and we -- might live.
We, too, must ever discover the kingdom anew. We are called to find it as a treasure, a pearl of great price. By comparison with the kingdom, we must count all else as rubbish (see Philippians 3:8). And we must be willing to give up all that we have -- all our priorities and plans -- in order to gain it.
Jesus' Gospel discloses what Paul in today's Epistle calls the purpose of God's plan (see Ephesians 1:4): for Jesus be the firstborn of many brothers.
His words give understanding to the simple, the childlike. As Solomon does today, we must humble ourselves before God, giving ourselves to His service. Let our prayer be for an understanding heart, one that desires only to do His will.
We are called to love God, to delight in His law, and to forsake every false way. And we are to conform ourselves daily ever more closely to the image of His Son.
If we do this, we can approach His altar as a pleasing sacrifice, confident that all things work for the good -- that we whom He has justified will also be glorified.
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130
- Scott Hahn is the founder and president of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He is also the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb's Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are The Creed, Joy to the World and Evangelizing Catholics.