HOMILY OF 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I wish to begin this homily with these striking questions: If God came to you in a dream and asked you what you wanted Him to do for you, what would be your response? What is it that you value most or attach the utmost importance to in life? These profound questions echo in the chambers of our hearts, inviting everyone to contemplate the true essence of his or her desires and aspirations. In this homily, let us reflect on the readings so as to discern how to uncover the hidden treasures that lie within.
Seeking Divine Wisdom: Solomon’s Humble Request:
In the first reading (1 Kings 3:5, 7–12), we encounter the moment when God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give.” Astonishingly, Solomon did not request riches, power, or vengeance against his enemies. Instead, he humbly sought divine wisdom to guide his reign as king (Proverbs 2:6).
Consequently, God, recognizing the sincerity of Solomon’s heart, granted him wisdom beyond measure, along with many other blessings. This act of selflessness and reverence for God’s guidance revealed the depth of Solomon’s heart and led to immeasurable blessings. Can we emulate this attitude of Solomon when we are praying (James 1:5)?
Discerning the Hidden Treasure: Embracing God’s Kingdom:
In the Gospel reading (Matthew 13:44–52), Jesus Christ compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a treasure hidden in a field that a man discovers and is thus willing to sell all that he has to possess it. This parable illustrates the value and significance of discernment and the ability to recognize the true treasure, the Kingdom of Heaven, amidst the distractions of life (Colossians 2:2-3).
Furthermore, just as the man in the field perceived the hidden treasure’s worth, we too are called to discern the significance of God’s Kingdom in our lives. When we grasp its profound importance, we are willing to surrender all that we possess for the sake of attaining it.
Also, Jesus’ parable of the Kingdom of Heaven as a net gathering fish of every kind reflects the wisdom needed in discerning the hidden treasures within us. Just as the net sorted the good fish from the bad, divine wisdom allows us to distinguish between good and evil in our hearts, leading us to embrace the true treasure of God’s grace and love. Certainly, God’s wisdom and grace can help us eschew anger, hatred, jealousy, an unforgiving spirit, materialism, etc (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Trusting in God’s Purpose: Everything Works for Good:
The second reading (Romans 8:28–30) assures us that everything works for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. When we seek divine wisdom and recognize the treasure of God’s Kingdom, we place our trust in God’s plan, even amidst life’s challenges and uncertainties (Proverbs 3:5-6).
As the scripture says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). So, having reverence for God makes us have confidence in His Words. Also, our faith, obedience and unwavering trust in God’s Words will always lead us to the path of transformation and blessings; this can ultimately provide a sense of purpose and serenity to one’s life. Of course, trusting in God’s purpose and believing everything will work out for good is truly consoling. This implies that there is a bigger plan in motion, even when things do not go according to what we planned, but God’s plans and purposes for us will surely stand (Jeremiah 29:11-14).
As we have witnessed in today’s Sunday readings, it is very necessary for us to always follow the example of Solomon, who humbly sought God’s wisdom above all else. Humbling ourselves and seeking divine wisdom allows us to discern the hidden treasures of God’s grace, love, and providence in our lives.
Moreover, it is worthy to note that, in our supplication to God, seeking divine wisdom as our guide is very important. This is because, through wisdom, we can embrace the transformative power of uncovering the hidden treasures within us. Therefore, as we continue on our spiritual journey, let us always work with unwavering faith and trust in God’s plan and be willing to surrender and eschew evil attitudes like anger, hatred, jealousy, an unforgiving spirit, materialism, etc., which can hinder our spiritual growth. With God’s grace, we can recognize the immeasurable value of the Kingdom of Heaven in our lives and find joy and fulfillment in His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).
May the Holy Spirit of God grant you divine wisdom to uncover the hidden treasure of the Kingdom of God. May He fill you with unwavering faith and joy and guide you in embracing His love and grace, discerning good from evil, and finding peace in life’s uncertainties, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.