Sunday Scripture reading, July 26, 2020: Priceless treasure
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1) 1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12
Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
2) Rom 8:28-30
Gospel: Mt 13:44-52 or 13:44-46
"Antiques Roadshow" is a long running popular public television program that moves across American cities in search of local treasures. Each episode is a journey into the local history of one American city revealed through various antiques brought before the keen eyes of the show's art experts, historians and appraisers.
There's an air of excitement as guests wait to discover whether their cherished antiques are in fact valuable or have little or no worth. Small and large items that were carefully preserved or simply forgotten are brought into the spotlight to be evaluated.
To the delight of some, their antiques are discovered to be expensive or priceless treasures worth hundreds, even millions of dollars, several times more than their purchase price. Even if an antique is found to be worthless, the sentimental value of the object often outweighs its monetary worth.
The enduring popularity of this television program shows there is a treasure hunter in all of us. We love to find a bargain value, a good deal or a long lost treasure. We may find these treasures in our attics, basements, yard sales, antique stores or among our personal and family belongings. And finding a treasure or discovering its real value brings delight.
In today's Gospel, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a treasure buried in a field, that a person finds and hides again. Then out of joy, he sells all he has to buy the field.
And again, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds one pearl of great value, he sells everything he owns to buy the one treasured pearl.
God desires to transform our life. And faith invites us to live in friendship with God and neighbor. Faith is an invaluable gift, a spiritual treasure and pearl of great price.
In today's first reading, the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream saying, "Ask something of me and I will give it to you." As king of Israel, Solomon is at a pivotal moment and God's question invites reflection on what he values the most.
Solomon realizes that riches, power, fame and all the material goods of this world do not compare with the gift of understanding God's ways and knowing right from wrong.
Solomon discovered wisdom as a treasure of surpassing value. And God was pleased with Solomon's request for wisdom and made this promise to him, "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."
To live in friendship with God is like a hidden treasure in a field, a valuable pearl of great price. This is why St. Paul assures us that "all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."
What am I searching for? What do I treasure the most in life? Discovering the treasure of God's word today we pray, "speak to me, Lord."
What do you treasure most in life? How is faith a treasure beyond compare?
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Sullivan is a professor at The Catholic University of America.