Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year A

Dennis M. McGowan, O.S.A.
Saint Thomas Monastery
Villanova, Pennsylvania

1 Kgs 3: 5, 7-12
Ps 119: 57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
Rom 8: 28-30
Mt 13: 44-52

We live in a consumer-driven society. Happiness and life satisfaction are associated with having the latest device, seeing the latest movie, being the most popular on the various social media sites. All too often, though, when we attain these “status symbols,” we find that we are not quite as fulfilled as we thought we would be. Satisfaction and happiness still elude us until the next greatest thing comes our way.

Jesus offers a suggestion and an alternative in today’s gospel. In the parables of the buried treasure and the pearl of great price, he invites us to consider something greater. He uses these examples to invite us to look for what really matters. He invites us to look deep within ourselves to unlock the greatest gift of all…God fully alive and calling us to be our best selves. God longs for us to be the best we can be. That means we are called to reflect on how God has blessed us so uniquely and how we can best utilize these gifts to make God more present to us and to others. That means we are called to an openness to where, when and how we encounter God, even when that encounter happens as a result of the challenges and, perhaps, the heartbreak that confronts all of us during the course of our lives. We all know what it means to feel God present in the birth of a child, in a new relationship. Not so much when devastating illness, the loss of a loved one, or a broken relationship. Those are the times when God is present but we may have to search deep inside to get in touch with God who not only wants to bless us, but to hold us close and help us to better know ourselves and our God more intimately. God gifts us on this journey.

In the first reading, Solomon asked God for the gift of wisdom, that might better serve God and the people of Israel. What is it that we seek from God? What is that God seeks for us? Our call to be disciples in today’s world, our call to further the Kingdom of God here on earth, our call to be children of God fully alive, should motivate us in that search. When we search for that buried treasure, when we search for that pearl of great price, we search for God in maybe unfamiliar places. We allow our God to be revealing in ways we cannot imagine possible. And isn’t that the greatest gift of all?