Saturday, July 23, 2005
17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
JULY 24, 2005
17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - A
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1 KINGS 3:5, 7-12
The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, "Ask
something of me and I will give it to you." Solomon answered: "O LORD,
my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father
David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve
you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast
that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant,
therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to
distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast
people of yours?" The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him: "Because you have asked for this-- not for a long
life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right-- I do as you
requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has
never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no
one to equal you."
Brothers and sisters: We know that all things work for good for those
who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he
foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And
those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also
justified; and those he justified he also glorified.
Jesus said to his disciples: "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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into
the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul
it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad
they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels
will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them
into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of
teeth. "Do you understand all these things?" They answered, "Yes."
And he replied, "Then every scribe who has been instructed in the
kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his
storeroom both the new and the old."
Some people say that the songs you know reveal your age. For me, the
lyrics of old love songs seem much more romantic and poetic than the
words of modern tunes, which often sing of making love and sex. Old
tunes like "Some Enchanted Evening" from the musical South Pacific
advises "Once you have found her, never let her go...." In Rose Marie
the singer professes, "Of all the queens that ever live I chose you to
rule me..." from My Fair Lady we hear: "Let the time go by. I won't
care if I can be here on the street where you live." An old hit goes
"I only have eyes for you." These and many love songs of old times
express that the beloved is the most precious. And that nothing in
this world can replace that treasure. There is a decisive and radical
Our Gospel today speaks of a similar decisive and radical choice about
treasure and pearl of great price. The merchant makes the radical
decision to sell and sacrifice everything in exchange for what is most
Jesus tells us that when someone discovers the Kingdom of God, he must
not allow such opportunity to escape him. On the contrary, in his own
interest he should do everything in his power to grasp such a unique
Unfortunately, Jesus made the access to him and his kingdom so easy to
us that we no longer feel that his gift is a priceless treasure. We
often take Jesus and his kingdom for granted.
Jeremy Levin was the Cable News Network bureau chief in Beirut in
1984. On March 7 of that year he was kidnapped by Shiite Muslims. His
captors blindfolded him and drove him to a dingy, cold house in the
Bekaa Valley. There he was chained to a wall in such a way that he
could only sit or lie down. He remained that way for the next four
Jeremy tried to keep his spirit up by positive thinking. But he soon
discovered that no amount of positive thinking could take away his
terrible loneliness. He longed to talk to anyone!
It was in this situation that Jeremy began to think about God. He was
an avowed atheist. But the thoughts of God wouldn't go away. They
became more and more frequent. Then one day the question crossed his
mind, "Could I talk to God?"
Jeremy rejected the idea immediately. For as long as he didn't believe
in God he could never talk to Him. Otherwise, he'd be living in a
world of make believe. He'd be kidding himself. He'd be losing his
grip on reality.
But the thoughts of God continued. Soon Jeremy became preoccupied with
them. Phrases like "God loves you" and "God bless you" kept bombarding
his mind. Commenting on this, he wrote later: "Even snatches of what
little I had read in the Bible came back to me...."[I] was like a
thirsty man holding his mouth open to raindrops... I was consumed with
pondering everything I had heard about God and the one called His Son,
It was in this frame of mind that Jeremy awoke on Tuesday, April 10.
On that day - just 12 days before Easter - Jeremy did something he
never dreamed he would ever do. He made an act of faith in God.
He spoke his first words to God. They were very simple. He
said, "Oh Father, please take care of my wife and family. Please
reunite us." Then Jeremy did something else he never dreamed he would
do. He forgave his captors and asked God to forgive them too. "For the
first time in my life," he said, "I felt whole."
In the months ahead, Jeremy was moved to several other locations. His
guards became more friendly. Then came Christmas Eve. One of the
guards asked him, "What do you want for Christmas?" Jeremy looked at
him in amazement and blurted out, "A Bible!"
Two days later, Jeremy received a small red-bound New Testament. He
proceeded to devour it. He was especially moved by Jesus' words: "All
that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it
shall be yours."
>From that moment on, Jeremy prayed for a chance to escape. On the
night of February 13, 1985, 11 months after his capture, that chance
came. A guard got careless, and Jeremy bolted from the house and
zigzagged barefoot down the frozen mountainside to safety.
Today, Jeremy Levin is the CNN bureau chief in Washington, D.C. In his
spare time he crisscrosses the country, sharing with audiences his
To discover Jesus is to discover a treasure. Jesus compares the
Kingdom of God to a buried treasure or a fine pearl. When they are
found, they should be purchased by sacrificing everything. Nothing is
worth more than this treasure, this fine pearl: the Kingdom of God.
Jesus tells this to his disciples because he wants to instill in them
the value of the Kingdom of God. They must come to value God's reign
over their lives. They must come to value justice, peace, and mercy.
They must come to value love of God and neighbor more than anything
else. To value the Kingdom of God is the first step of discipleship.
Once the disciple recognized the value of the Kingdom, just like the
merchant seeking fine pearls, and just like the man looking for buried
treasure, only a driving desire could propel that person to seek for
ways to make God's Kingdom alive. Such a person would be willing to
endure setbacks, limitations, and trials. With this driving desire,
such a person could come to their destination - the Kingdom of God.
Through this Gospel, Jesus calls us to begin taking hold of the Kingdom
of heaven here and now. The desire to be in the Kingdom should be our
Like King Solomon we must desire to make the world a place of
justice, of understanding, and of charity. We must be willing to forgo
any desires of self-grandeur or self-preservation.
If we do not value God's Kingdom, we will not have the desire to search
for it. If we do not have a driving desire to possess the Kingdom, we
will not sacrifice to acquire it. If we are not willing to sacrifice
all to acquire the Kingdom of God, we will never possess it.
The third parable shifts the value of the Kingdom to the value of our
lives. When the day of the great dragnet collects us all, our value
will be determined by how we valued, how we desired, and how we
sacrificed for God's Kingdom. If we have lived so as to possess God's
Kingdom, then we possess it. If we have not, well, what would you do
with something that is worthless?
We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the special intentions of Joseph.
- for the personal intentions of Patricia M.
- for the personal intentions of Lydia and family.
- In Memoriam: Engracia Hollmann
- In Memoriam: Angel Pe
- for speedy recovery of Kerri Elise A. David. For the personal
intentions of her parents.
- for the good health and special intentions of Franciosa Vanessa L.
- for the enlightenment & good health of Elsa & Paolo.
- in thanksgiving for all the blessings received by Cha.
- for the guidance and special intentions of Rev.
- for the all the concerns and special intentions of Jhob.
- for the special intentions of SMYD
- for the good health of Papa Fabio, Papa Raul and Mr. Oljol.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- birthday & thanksgiving: Erlinda Esparaguera -
- Birthday: Joshua Kyle Lim
- In Memoriam: Nicanor P. Nicolas
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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