Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Sunday Word

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kgs 3:5,7-12
Rom 8:28-30
Mt 13:44-52

Now just imagine you like got this scruffy like Galilean who comes along and like compares that ancient Hebraic concept of the kingdom of heaven to a treasure! Like how ridiculous! Or this same scruffy Jew compares the kingdom to a pearl. Come on now like! Or maybe, like, it's like a net, the kingdom of God, that is. Are you kiddin' me?
Jesus' prudent use of the word like makes the comparisons understandable.  But the word like opens the door for the rest of Jesus' description of the kingdom.
Check out Matthew 13, and you discover a whole set of rather peculiar prizes that people pursue with passion and purpose, using every ounce of their heart, soul, mind and strength. The single unifying theme is that these treasures are all illustrations of or metaphors for the kingdom of God.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field,” says Jesus, “which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Jesus then goes on to say, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

The kingdom of heaven is like owning your first car, finding a treasure hidden in a field, winning the Super Bowl, finding a pearl of great value, winning the World Series Ring. But are we pursuing the kingdom of God with the passion of Wimbledon tennis players and World Series sluggers?

Earthly prizes are fairly easy to identify, whether they be winning championships or achieving goals, losing weight or getting into a good college. But heavenly prizes? These are a bit more difficult to visualize.

Still, give it a try. Imagine yourself living by the Ten Commandments … or the Sermon on the Mount. Picture yourself digging into the parables of Jesus, the letters of Paul. Commit yourself to starting each day with prayer, treating your neighbor as you would like to be treated, or serving Jesus Christ by serving the hungry or the homeless.

Each is a worthwhile goal, and each requires determination, desire and a sense of mission. Each will challenge you, reward you and turn you ever-so-slowly into someone better.

Like, WOW!