One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

July 27, 2008

For the Seventeenth Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Matthew 13:44-52
1 Kings 3:5,7-12
Romans 8:28-30

Today in his Gospel, Jesus gives four sayings or short teachings about the “kingdom of heaven.”
He starts by speaking of the kingdom of heaven as something personal and hidden.
Then he goes on to say it is something public and worldwide at the end of history.
He ends up saying the kingdom of heaven is about things both old and new that one hides in a storeroom, but also brings out of the storeroom.
So the kingdom of heaven is hidden, personal, stored away, intimate, but it is also public and worldwide.
Either way, Jesus makes clear the kingdom of heaven is worth more for us than anything else, and that we could lose it forever.
In the blunt and even UGLY words of Jesus today— at the end of time the angels are to take the good into the kingdom of heaven, but “separate the wicked from the righteous,” and: “What is bad they THROW AWAY.”
That’s ugly, frightening, and sad.
It is nonetheless “The Gospel of the Lord”— to which you replied a moment ago, “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.”
None of us wants to end up a throwaway.
Then, how do we find the pearl of great price, how do we get into the kingdom of heaven, and what shall we find there?
We hear the answer in the second reading from the Word of the Lord today.
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.

those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

to be conformed to the image of his Son.

“Glorified”: overtaken and overfilled with beauty, truth, joy, peace, life, completeness, unity, goodness!
Glorified— and without end— in the kingdom of heaven!
That is God wants for us.
Do we want that?
Do we want the kingdom of heaven, or do we settle for less?
We settle for less if we never get around to what God wants for us.
God wants glory for us in his kingdom.
The Word of the Lord in the second reading today says “all things work for good for those who love God.”
However, do WE work with all things for our own good, for the glory of heaven, for love of God?
Today Jesus tells us to work for the kingdom of heaven like a man who happily sells all that he has so he can buy a field that holds a buried treasure.
The Son of God sold his life to the cross, so that he could buy the field of the resurrection, and dig out of it a buried treasure: our humanity that in him is ascended into the kingdom of heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father in glory.
For God, each of us is a pearl of great price.
From the tomb God in Christ has called, justified, and glorified our humanity: our joy, our mind, our will, our body and blood.
He gives us the choice to work by his side.
He calls us to the work, and leaves it to us to answer or not.
those he CALLED he also justified

and ... also glorified.

The Lord called Solomon.
God said,
“Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
Solomon answered:
“Give your servant ... understanding ...
to judge ... and to distinguish right from wrong.”

God gave him wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of what is right.
In Christ, God gives us much “greater than Solomon” [Mt. 12:42].
God gives us his own wisdom and glory to eat and drink in the Body and Blood of Christ so that his wisdom and glory become ours.
To choose this treasure is to choose responsibility for it.
What shall we do with it?
Each of us inside the kingdom of his own life needs to do what the angels will do for the kingdom at the end of time.
I need to throw a net deeply into the sea of my life and collect everything.
I need to haul ashore the net of my life, sit down, and pick through it.
I need to keep what is good.
What is bad I need to throw away.
If I do not do the work, then I am simply throwing away the powerful treasure of glory I receive in the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ.
Then, in the end, my own choices make me into a “throwaway.”
As I choose to treat the kingdom of heaven, so I choose to treat myself.
Heaven and its king want you and me.
He wants to glorify you.
He wants to justify you.
God calls you.
What is your answer, and does it show up in your life?

That God Be Glorified in All


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday, at Houston's Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, the celebrant opted to use his homily time to explain the reading from St. Paul (explaining beforehand that the gospel was relatively straightforward, but that the 2nd reading is one of the most difficult and controversial). It was a valiant attempt, but it's true that this passage is very complicated. Have you ever preached on this or do you have any good resources explaining this passage? Many thanks!

8:36 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Poulette,

My posted homily does have some comments about the second reading.

The Scriptural index in the Catechism of the Catholic Church also shows its use in the Catechism. However, since this Scriptural passage refers to predestination, it is necessary to also look up in the CCC the topic "predestination." There is an orthodox, Catholic understanding of predestination, and then there is a heretical, Protestant one.

4:40 PM  

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