Sunday Ordinary Time 17 A

Sunday Ordinary Time 17 A

The theme of today’s readings is “heart.” We have to have an open heart. 

Look at the first reading. Solomon has become king; he is a young man, perhaps 20 years old, and he prays for a wise heart. (For the words of the reading, click here.)

Remember, for the people of Israel, the heart was the place of thought and ideas, right thinking, and right feeling. Solomon wanted to be a good leader for his people; he impresses the Lord God. The Lord gives him wisdom, a wise heart able to judge, to lead, to know right and wrong, good and bad, to know the good and the better and the best, and then have the courage to do it. It means Solomon’s heart is open to letting the Lord influence him, guide him.  We all need such a wise heart. 

How do we get a wise heart? We need to ask the Lord. I suggest that you find a few minutes every day. Sit quietly before the Lord, and ask the Lord, “What do I do? How should I think? My attitude, what should it be?” And the Lord will answer you. He will answer you quietly, softly, gently. Why? For your own benefit, also so that you can do good, do good for many people, or do good for a few people, or even do good for one person; it does not matter. Ask the Lord to give you a wise heart able to love, able to care for other people wisely. 

Then with a wise heart you can accept what St Paul says in the second reading, All things work  for the good of those who love God. (For the words of the reading, click here.) You love God; I love God Sometimes things don’t always work out well. Yes, that is true. So what do we do? In such situations we simply need to trust. Trust that you are a precious daughter of God, a precious son of God; trust that God loves you and wants the best for you, wants you to be happy. Sometimes it’s necessary to go through hard times, challenging times. But this leads to a new level of joy. I like to use that word “joy,” not only to mean fully happy. But also “joy” means knowing that the Lord is with you, He is taking care of you and all things will succeed well.  It is God’s will that you succeed and be happy. He wants you to be successful in doing what he wants and be successful in everything that makes us happy, fulfilled people. And that is a high level of trust. Pray for it; pray, “Lord, help me to know you, to know you always, to know you more, to know that you help me, love me, and guide me. Open my mind to know you, open my heart to see you, open my heart fully to trust you.”

And then, in the Gospel, Jesus talks about people finding valuable things. (For the words of the gospel, click here.)  A farmer finds riches in a field. And he sells everything and buys that field. A man selling pearls is looking for the best pearl; he finds a beautiful pearl; he sells everything to buy the pearl. It is important for you and me to realize the riches that we have right now. 

Notice the riches that you have; give thanks to God for all that you have. You are in good health. There are many people who are now sick with the virus, but you are healthy; thank God for it. Thank God for your family and friends. There are many people who are lonely and have no one. You have food enough; you have clothes.  Look at the pictures on television, compare yourself with people in other parts of the world; they are hungry every day, they have nothing. And you know something very important: You know God loves you. Christ Jesus is with you. He cares for you. 

There are many people in our world who wonder, “Do they have a purpose?” They don’t know they have a purpose; they wonder why are they alive; they don’t know. For many their lives mean nothing. But you are different, because you know you are precious to God our Father;  Jesus, our brother, loves you. So open your wise heart; see all that you have. Thank God for all that you have.

 Yes, it’s true. You and I have problems; money is tight; problems pop up; we still worry about this virus. But compare yourselves with others, you see you have much, much richness in your life, know it. Be grateful to God for it. Take time to notice all that you have, all the good in your life.

Let me end with a story, there was a boy who lived on a hill. Across the valley on the other side,  especially in the evening when the sun was going down, he saw a beautiful house. It glowed in the sunlight. The light was shining through the windows; it looked like a rich house of gold and the boy said, “That must be a wonderful, beautiful place to live in.” One day he decided he was going to go over there, to find out what it was really like. He packed some food and began his journey across the valley. It was a longer journey than he thought. He climbed up the hill, and when he arrived on the other side, he found a cottage, a very simple house, a nice small house.  The people there warmly welcomed him; they told him they were happy to see him. They said, “It’s late. Do you want to stay and have dinner?” He accepted their invitation. Then they said, “We have a bed here. Do you want to stay here for the night?” The boy accepted. There was a girl in the family the same age as the boy.  She said, “Tomorrow, I want to show you something really beautiful, when we get up early. We can sit on the porch and look across the valley. I want to show you a house that shines beautifully in the morning sun. It must be wonderful to live in that house.” So the boy got up early the next morning and sat on the porch with the girl and looked across the valley. When the sun came up, they saw a beautiful house shining like silver. It was a beautiful sight. Then the boy looked and was amazed. He said, “That is my house; I live there. In the light it looks so beautiful. I didn’t know how beautiful it was.”

 For all of us, for you and me, there is much good, much beauty, much joy, much wonder in your life, in my life. Take time. See the beauty. Thank God for giving you such great riches.

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