Fr. Mike’s Homily for Wednesday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I (1)

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Wednesday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: The joy in finding the real and priceless treasure.

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

Homily for Wednesday July 28 2021

Mt 13:44-46
“The kingdom of heaven is like a 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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

St. Matthew dedicates the thirteenth chapter of his Gospel to the parables of the Kingdom: the Sower, the Weeds among the Wheat, the Mustard Seed, the Yeast, the Net, and today we read the fifth and sixth parables, namely, the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price.

The first parable is about a man who unexpectedly discovers a treasure buried in a field and quickly puts it back again. During those times, wars and conquests are frequent. Usually, the victor takes as booty not only the valuable goods of the conquered kingdom, but the entire population as well, taken as captives and slaves. That is why, when war is imminent, the wealthy families would bury their treasures in the hope that they will be able to retrieve them when they return. As most often is the case, they are not able to return anymore. So, it is not uncommon for someone to accidentally discover such hidden treasures. The lucky finder then goes and sells everything he has to buy that piece of land. In other words, all his property is nothing compared to the treasure he is about to possess.

In the second parable, a man is engaged in the business of buying and selling jewelry. All his life he is in search of fine pearls. And finally, he finds such an extraordinarily exquisite pearl. So, to acquire it, he sells all the jewelry that he has in order to buy this priceless pearl.

These parables are taken from commerce or business. The first is on real estate, and the second is on trading. Basically, they both convey the same message: the Kingdom of God is infinitely priceless compared to all material wealth in this world. One should be wise enough to readily relinquish his worldly possessions in order to acquire it. This is the best business deal ever: the material for the spiritual, the ephemeral for the eternal.

Though similar in message, there is a significant difference between the two parables. The first one talks about the man who discovers the treasure purely by accident. He was not looking for it. He just came across it while working in a field owned by somebody else.

This happens to so many people. God has His mysterious ways in bringing souls to Him. He can come into people’s lives in so many ways totally unexpected. And conversion takes place. Such is well illustrated in the conversion stories of so many saints.

In the second parable, the man is seriously looking for something truly precious. He has a very definite goal in mind. All throughout his life as a businessman, he is in search of something that will give him real fulfillment in his life.

Similarly, some persons can be looking for real meaning in their life. But in so many cases, they are looking for it in the wrong places. Or they may have tried many things already but the satisfaction is only partial and fleeting. Then they come across the Gospel of Jesus and in an instant of divine inspiration, they know right away that they have finally found what they have been looking for, the true meaning of their life. The ensuing decision is radical and fundamental. Everything else is abandoned as they focus entirely on following the Way of Jesus.

A classic example of this is the case of St. Augustine of Hippo. For many years in his life he tried everything that the world can offer – money, women, worldly sciences and philosophy, fame – but these did not give him satisfaction and happiness. Until one day, he overheard the sermon of the bishop, St. Ambrose, and the Word of God enlightened him. He concluded: “My soul is restless, until it rests in you, O Lord!”

The emphasis in these two parables is not the pain of renouncing all their possessions, but the joy in finding the real and priceless treasure. Only in God will we find true peace and happiness. To realize this truth is wisdom. Jesus asks us: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mt 16:26). That is why it is truly wise to “seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Mt 6:33).

Let us examine ourselves. What are the things in our life that we need to renounce in favor of the kingdom of God? May the Lord give us the wisdom to realize this, and the grace that will strengthen us to leave everything behind to be truly happy with God now and forever.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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