Mass Readings ~ 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 26 July 2020
I: I Kings 3:5, 7-12; Responsorial: Psalm 119; II: Romans 8:28-30; Gospel: Matthew 13:44-52
The familiar, powerful and reassuring words of the Holy Spirit, shared through St. Paul in his letter to the Romans are so deeply needed in our lives at this time. “All things work for good.…” . Yet as we look at our world today, perhaps at our own lives or the suffering and struggles of loved ones we wonder, perhaps doubt, and we ask: All Things work for good??
The treasure of God’s Word this Sunday indeed will reassure and provide practical insight into the truth and power of this promise from God.
In Arizona are the Superstition Mountains home to one of the most famous stories of lost treasure. The Lost Dutchman Mine has called people to seek this alleged lost and hidden treasure since at least 1892. Some have died in their quest. Many have failed. None have been known to find this elusive lost, hidden treasure of great wealth despite that search being the driving purpose of many a life. Encountering many trials, discouragements and profound failures the assurance of all things working for good would have been futile at best. The wealth of God’s Word today reminds and reassures us the quest for the hidden treasure of God’s Kingdom will not lead to failure but the eternal favor of God’s purposes.
Jesus in our Gospel today shares more parables focusing on the promise of the hidden treasures of God and God’s Kingdom. And it is within this context we learn the how, the why, the power of All Things working for Good! Our Lord, in His parables affirms that in life the great treasures of God are often..hidden. In life we realize that the great treasures of God are often buried, covered in dusty mystery and faith, shrouded in clouds of suffering and pain or buried in deep mines of loss or grief. Or, sometimes these great treasures are easily evident but missed by meadows of ease or worldly allure or the disguises of being all too familiar. But the map to these great heavenly treasures is given by God to all who will listen and seek…Him.
It is often a reality of our human ego that our opening verse from the book of Romans focuses only upon the first part: “…all things work for good…”. Our humanity rushes to assume “it’s all good”, “I have this all planned!!!” “I am entitled!!!. Yet if we simplify our hearts and quietly Listen to the Holy Spirit we soon learn there is so much more to the verse. Indeed, ALL things work for good!!! ” FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, WHO ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.” It is in the purposes and provisions of the Holy Spirit we experience in soul, spirit and in life that indeed ALL things work for good, WITH GOD.
The context of this great promise cannot be ignored, if we wish to experience the truth and power it would share. The eighth chapter of Romans speaks eloquently of living in the Holy Spirit of God as followers of Jesus, as adopted sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. This life in the Spirit is a life of eternal simplicity and practicality. It is prayerful listening and following after God as His plans, His purposes are realized, day by day. For in light of our specific readings for today it is a life of Seeking, Sacrifice and Sharing in the quest of God.
Seeking... the lesson of Solomon in our Old Testament reading expresses how, as a young king Solomon was given by God an opportunity in prayer. Solomon chose to use that opportunity to indeed pray and SEEK God and the Wisdom only God could bring. So it is with each of us. Many are our opportunities in life. Some are great and exciting thresholds of hope and possibility. Others are seeming dead ends of failure or sorrow. But through out life they are all opportunities to SEEK GOD and the Wisdom of the Heavens.
Sacrifice... Our present culture tends to despise concepts of sacrifice and duty. Yet for those who seek God these graces of faith are absolute necessities. Going back to the Superstition Mountains of the Lost Dutchman Mine anyone who would seek that lost treasure would be mortally foolish to go on their quest without water. So it is for the man or woman, the child of God. If we have not the waters of sacrifice found in the sacrifices of Baptism and cleansing our quest will be a failure. As God’s children it is NOT about entitlement but the sacrifices of love that clear away all the detritus of life that we may see that which truly matters, that we may see HE who matters. It is then we realize that all the baggage we may think we must cling to is purely hindrances to our following the purposes and plans of God in our Heavenly quest.
Sharing… Finally in our quest for Jesus and His Kingdom one of the greatest of paradoxes God would bring us to…share this treasure we seek. To find the infinite treasure that is God that is the eternal Kingdom of God we must be on a quest to share all, any wealth we find. In the world if one discovered a great treasure there would probably be a great effort to hide or protect that treasure from those deemed less deserving. In God’s Kingdom the treasures of mercy, forgiveness, hope, the indescribable gems of holiness are given by God to be..shared. For it is as Jesus said..it is in giving..we receive. It is as Jesus did..in giving sharing the riches of Heaven, through the Cross, we find His love.
As we persevere on our quest to know that ALL things work for good..WITH God, in our quest to discover His treasures in our lives of struggle or ease of sorrow or joy we learn that it is God who calls us to His purpose, His designs. May we each learn the greatest treasure of knowing in our hearts the voice of the crucified King calling us each by name.