7/26/2020 • 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: 1 Kings 3:5, 7–12
Psalm: Psalm 119:57, 72, 76–77, 127–128, 129–130 (97a)
Second Reading: Romans 8:28–30
Gospel Acclamation: cf. Matthew 11:25
Gospel: Matthew 13:44–52
This Sunday’s readings are about the importance and preciousness of God’s Kingdom and the importance of the gifts of God’s revelation and wisdom to be able enter into it and fulfill God’s purpose in calling us to be a participating part of His Kingdom.
Solomon has just become the king of Israel after the death of his father, David, and he is under no illusion that he is adequate for the job. He also sees the gravity and importance of ruling over God’s people. His focus is on being a good king over God’s kingdom on earth. Solomon is seeking first the kingdom of God in asking for wisdom from God in response to God’s invitation to pray for something from Him. He wants to rule well and knows God is the only one who can really give him the wisdom to do so. Solomon prays for that rather than all the things that would benefit him personally by being a king.
God is pleased with Solomon’s kingdom-focused request, and in verses 13 and 14, which were not included in our reading, God says He will not only make him the wisest man who ever lived but will also add all the things that Solomon did not ask for.
To be a fully functioning part of God’s Kingdom, we need the light of His revelation and law. We also need His mercy and grace, which the psalmist acknowledges and requests in the second stanza.
God’s purpose in calling us into His Kingdom is so that we can be conformed to the image of His Son, our King and older brother. Those who love God are part of His Kingdom. Therefore, God works everything for good in our lives. What is the good? To become more like Jesus. That is our goal and God’s purpose for us. And so He works our triumphs, failures, joys and sufferings towards that end goal. We see this truth played out in the lives of the saints throughout the Old and the New Testament and up to this very day. We can see it as we look back over our lives. As John Newton, author of the hymn, Amazing Grace, said, it is grace that brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom (cf. Matthew 11:25).
Jesus, in the first two parables for this Sunday’s reading, focuses on the incomparable worth and joy of the kingdom of heaven. It is worth selling all we have to obtain it. I see so many of the reverts and converts who have made this discovery and have done just that so as to enter the earthly and spiritual kingdom of God more fully.
In the third parable, we see that not all those who are attracted to the kingdom of heaven and who are caught in its net are good. Hence the sin, scandal, power trips, corruption, and all manner of evil that we find in the Church, much to our consternation. Many will repent of these things and be restored to proper functioning as members of the kingdom, but others will not. We will all be sorted out at the end of the age. That is the job of God and his angels. We alone will never be able to fully discern who needs to go and who God will bring to reconciliation and restoration. We will never be able to purge the Church completely of evil, as much as we would like to. For we ourselves are a mixture of good and evil; we are works in progress. Humility and prayer are required here, not pride.
Jesus then goes one to say to his disciples that, if you understand the kingdom of heaven, having been instructed in it, then you will be able to teach and provide for others from the storeroom of treasures of the Old and New Testaments/Covenants.
May God bless the reading and proclamation of His word today.