Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020 Homilies Sunday Homilies

The Gospel begins with a series of short sayings about finding things of value; a buried treasure, a precious pearl, and a net full of fish. Jesus compares these to the Kingdom of Heaven.  Jesus is instructing us that the Kingdom of Heaven is the most important and valuable treasure there is. Just like those in his sayings who, when they find a treasure do all they are capable of to obtain it, including hard work and sacrifice.  This reiterates a saying of Jesus found earlier in Matthew’s Gospel. In chapter 6 he says “Where your heart is, so is your treasure.”  The Gospel today poses a somewhat obvious question to us: “what is your treasure?”  Jesus makes it clear with this passage that our treasure should be the Kingdom of Heaven.  There are many attractive and valuable things in this world, but nothing compares to the treasure of heaven.

The experience of not being able to go to Church, attend Mass, and receive Communion is a sad and difficult one. I touched on this in more detail in my reflection for Corpus Christi, however it is appropriate for these readings in that it has stirred up in the hearts of so many the realization of what a treasure we have in the Church.  A treasure that had been easy to take for granted.  The longing to attend Mass and receive Communion has opened our eyes and hearts to the beauty, the grace and the gift we have from God himself when we gather for the Eucharist.  Like any treasure the desire to “find” the treasure is itself part of the adventure and only increased within us the zeal and drive to possess the treasure.  While making a Spiritual Communion is a meaningful way to unite us with the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist, we are united with the presence of Jesus but it is not the same as holding the Sacred Host, feeling it in our mouths and knowing that the real body of Christ is entering into my humble body.  Maybe this has led us to rediscover the value of a treasure that we have always had before us.

The call Jesus gives us to identify what our treasure is can lead us to look forward to it with a longing in our heart. When the treasure seems out of reach it might even have us question why things that we might have no control over stand in the way of grasping the treasure we are longing.  Saint Paul writes beautifully about this, and the brief passage we have today reminds us; “that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” The love of God is more powerful than anything that can stand in the way of our reaching the ultimate treasure of the Kingdom of Heaven. The challenge at times is being able to look beyond the troubles, obstacles and to trust in God.

Unlike those in the parables today we don’t have to spend time searching for the treasure of great value and hope that some day we might stumble upon it.  Jesus tells us clearly that this treasure is the Kingdom of Heaven and elsewhere in the Gospels he tells us that he “is the way.”  By following Jesus we are on the way, and in fact are already sharing in the beauty of the Kingdom. If we stay faithful to Jesus and attentive to him in our lives we will not stray from the Kingdom, but experience more and more the value of the great treasure.  Let us set our hearts on God’s Kingdom, for where our hearts are, there is the treasure.

Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.