July 26 – Seventeen Sunday in Ordinary Time

Okay, I admit it. There are times I
fantasize about becoming rich when I
buy a lottery ticket once or twice a year.
What would I do with all that money?
Of course, I know when I buy the ticket
that God would never put me in that dilemma!
But, it is fun to dream. Today’s two parables of the
“treasure in the field” and the “pearl of great price” ring a bell in
each of us because many people dream of striking in rich. The success
of casinos and state lotteries come from the hope people have
that they might win and all their problems will be solved. But, we
often read stories of maybe it wasn’t the best thing that ever happened
to them. If we satisfy all of our material desires, emptiness
remains because we are more than a body. We have a soul. Consider
a human life without friendship, love, purpose or faith and we
can understand why our greatest need is spiritual.

The spiritual is also the organizing principle of our life like the
function on a computer that cascades all the data we enter into an
order that is arranged alphabetically, numerically or chronologically,
whichever way we want. The Gospel call this organizing principle
of the human heart, the “kingdom of God.” As Jesus says elsewhere
in Matthew’s Gospel, “Seek first the kingdom of God and
His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” The
kingdom of God has little to do with wealth, territory, castles, damsels
in distress or knights in shining armor. It does have to do with
the reign of God in our hearts, our lives and our homes.

As St. Paul writes in today’s second reading, “For those who love
God, everything works for their spiritual good.” Once we have the
true God at the center of our life, we never have to fear being
trapped by false gods, becoming devotees of image and celebrity,
slaves of ambition or lust, servants of power or greed, prisoners of
our job or career, because we have found our greatest good in God.

However we come to the kingdom of God, by discovery, like the
treasure in the field, or by search, like the fine pearl, we have to invest
ourselves in His reign to discover the riches, the wealth, the
perspective, the abundance of life in Christ. Those who embrace
the reign of God, the kingdom of Jesus Christ, in their lives are the
ones who really “strike it rich!”

Have a blessed week!

Father Don