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17th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2014
Cycle A

First Reading
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.

Second Reading
Romans 8:28-30

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.

Gospel Cycle A
Matthew 13:44-52

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.

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

There are some things that we can know only by faith, such as the statement in the Letter to the Romans, which is our second reading today: We know that all things work for good for those who love God. For those who have no faith, it is impossible to good in every situation. Even for us with faith, it can be difficult at times, but if we persevere in looking for the good, we always find it.

This is very similar to the story in the Gospel today. If someone finds a hidden treasure in a field, that person will usually try to find a way to obtain it. We all like treasures and most of us would be happy to have more resources to live. Or if we are collectors of stamps or other types of things, we can get totally involved in acquiring what we lack to complete our collections. Most of us are not fishermen, yet we can understand a large haul of fish, and throwing out those that have to commercial value.

So the question for us today really comes down to this: what is the deepest and most important value in our lives? Do we see God as that value? Do we see value for the Kingdom of God in our lives? Or is it just something that we play at?

We can listen to the story about Solomon in the first reading, from the First Book of Kings. What gift would we ask of God? Honestly, there are times when we might ask for many things: life for another person, enough money for our families, safety for those who travel and so on. Solomon does not ask for a deeper relationship with God, but for a gift that will help him serve others better. We don't have to be pious about this. Instead, we need to seek that which will help us love others more because in loving others more, we love God.

God invites us to reflect on our lives and on our values today. God invites us to put our lives in order so that all of our choices reflect His love for us and our love for others. This is the project of a whole life time and not something that we can achieve and never worry about once more. God help us! Let us give Him praise.