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Pastor's Letter 20200726 - 26 July 2020 Priority of Values

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July 26th, 2020

17th Sunday, Ordinary Time

A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme: “Priority of Values”


“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure buried in a field…”

Scripture Note

 In today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:44-52,) we hear the parables of the treasure and the pearl, both of which have the same message.  Jesus’ shows us that the Kingdom of Heaven is worth investing everything we have to acquire it.  But we need the wisdom that comes to us from beyond to understand this.  Then, the parable of the net reiterates the importance in last week’s story of the wheat and tares.  As it exists in our lifetime, the Kingdom contains both good and bad things.  Only at the final judgment will they be separated.

 The Search

 Since the dawn of time people have been looking for treasure.  In bygone days they searched the fields, the hills and under the sea.  They thought, “If only I could find gold, or diamonds, or pearls, I would be happy!”  Today, people are still looking for treasure, except now they look for it in the lottery, the casino or the stock market, thinking, “If only I could hit the ‘jackpot’ I will be happy!”

In one way or another, all of us are treasure hunters.  We all seem to be looking for something to make us completely “happy.”  There is nothing wrong with this…if everyone was happy, artists would not need to paint, nor writers compose tomes.  Christ encourages us in our searching as our two Gospel stories show.

  Christ loved searchers.  He had sympathy even for those looking in the wrong places and for the wrong things.  He understood their hunger and thirst and was able to point them in the right direction.  But He could do nothing for the “smug” and the “satisfied.”  In comparing the Kingdom to God to a rare pearl or a priceless treasure, He stressed the point that to possess it was worth everything we have. Those who find it are truly fortunate, even if in the eyes of the world they appear foolish and poor.  In the eyes of God they are wise and rich.

 The Kingdom of God is quite a simple concept.  It means knowing that one is a child of God, with divine dignity and an eternal destiny.  It means knowing the meaning of life and how to live it.  Our chief task is not to be successful or even to be fulfilled.  It is to live properly.  No one can be truly happy if they miss the main purpose of life.  The only question that remains is how to live in the best way.  Those who discover this wisdom, have attained the “pearl of great price.” 

 Such a treasure is not an illusion.  The parable underlines the unrestrained joy of one who finds their “pearl.”  When we have a sense of God’s presence, and His love for us, suddenly something wonderful bursts upon us.  Our hearts are filled with peace; our minds are replete with joy; our lives are resplendent with beauty.  Happy those who taste such loveliness even sporadically!  But happier still are those for whom it is the reality in which they live.

 To “taste” the Kingdom involves “letting go” of all other things—not in the sense that we have to give them up, entirely (we still need certain things in order to live.)   We must divest ourselves of the daily dependence upon them, however—of the way we make them the “be-all,” and “end all” of our lives. 

 Without a connection to our Creator, life is unbearable.  The real treasure is a close relationship with the Almighty—a sense of “who we are,” and “where we are going.”  Only then can we find our “true path.”

 To have faith is not to have “all the answers,” though.  Faith will not do the work for us.  Rather, faith commits us to a life of discovery; searching and yearning for that which is transcendent. 

 Nor is it only in “holy places,” such as shrines, natural wonders or Churches—or only on special occasions—that we will find God and feel close to Him.  In Jesus’ story, it was while the man was going about his daily task of digging that he found the treasure.  Our treasure will be found in the ground upon which we stand. 

 Earl Nightingale, in his “Lead the Field” series of motivational addresses, highlights this very concept in the talk: “Acres of Diamonds.  In it, he tells the story of a South African diamond miner, who searches his property for many years without success.  Discouraged, he sells it, only to learn later that the new buyer has discovered the largest deposit of diamonds ever found.  Nightingale relates that we have available for us, in the very conditions of our daily lives, great treasures, if we faithfully and diligently apply ourselves to finding them. 

 Our personal relationships are first in importance to us, and in them we can maximize our happiness and mutual worth by applying those tenets of patience, forbearance and understanding required for mutual satisfaction.  Our relationships with others can be made into treasures of social interaction if we search out ways to best cooperate with our peers, respect and learn from our superiors or learn our customers’ needs.  Our occupations hold promise for great accomplishments and fulfillment, if we purposely apply ourselves to becoming the very best at our chosen work.  Studying the ways our jobs could possibly be done better, how they might develop over time, and then applying ourselves to making ourselves the best in our chosen field, will focus our energies on finding the hidden wealth that exists therein.  All these hold within them “pearls of great price,” and can be experienced in the present day.  Discovering them will invariably lead us to find happiness.

 The upshot of all this is realizing happiness in the “here and now.”  Utilizing our God-given talents to their maximum not only will provide us the means to experience success, but in so doing, we give praise to God for them.  Taken together, then, the small steps we make toward such worthy outcomes in life combine to smooth the path toward the eternal Kingdom.   Those who belong to the Kingdom of God will taste real joy even on earth.  But that joy is only a foretaste of that we will experience in the hereafter, when we come into full possession of the Kingdom.

The Pearl of Wisdom

 Wisdom is the most precious gift a person can possess.  Without this treasure, all other possessions are useless, as we won’t know how to use them.  On being told he could have anything he wanted from God, Solomon asked for, and was given the gift of wisdom (2 Chronicles 7-12.)  However, that doesn’t mean Solomon was given wisdom on a “silver platter.”  That does not…and cannot happen.  Wisdom, when acquired at all, comes to us gradually, and often, painfully.  Over the course of a lifetime, it is like dew, coming in “tiny droplets,” without our knowing it. 

 However, some experiences may enable us to take a “giant step” forward.  Sometimes it takes some kind of crisis to teach a person a little wisdom.  The words of Paul come true, namely, that in His mercy, “God makes all things work together for good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28-30.)  Many times, in life, our worst misfortunes can become our greatest blessings.  If we ignore them, passing them off as simple “bad luck,” our pride or foolishness may cause us to throw away the experiences that may bring us closer to God and help us to grow.  From pain and difficulty, we learn to be less dependent on our own devices, and seek spiritual assistance.  The Holy Spirit is within us to help us discover answers when none seem apparent to us.  Trusting Him and having patience, we will see with our own eyes the Scriptural promise. Should misfortune return to us, we will remember what we have learned and not lose heart—another example of wisdom gained. 

 Jesus taught: “Wherever your treasure is, there will be your heart, too” (Matthew 6:19-21.)  So, if we want to know what our treasure is, all we have to do is ask ourselves: “Where is that which I love—that I am willing to pursue with all my heart?”  Therein lies our treasure….  However, it is not in material things that we will find satisfaction.  Riches bring anxiety; wisdom brings peace of mind.  And this isn’t “worldly wisdom”—it is something much deeper and very much more precious.  It is the knowledge of just what is truly important in life.  It means being able to see life from a spiritual point of view; being able to live in a manner in keeping with serenity and well-being for all of God’s creation.  Put another way, it means knowing how to live in a “Godly” manner.   If we don’t have that, then no matter how many possessions we may have or how successful we become, we will not find happiness.

 Then, too, wisdom is not the same as knowledge.  Knowledge speaks to something we have, whereas wisdom refers to that which we are.  Unlike knowledge which we acquire through diligent effort, wisdom is gained through inspiration.  Communicated to us from our Creator, it is grandeur of our destiny. Once we discover and possess wisdom, it cannot be taken from us. 

May God Richly Bless You!


“We become like that which we love.

 If we love what is base, we become base. 

But if we love what is noble, we become noble”

 Archbishop Fulton J Sheen

 All Things Work Together for Good.docx

All Things Work Together for Good.mp3

To view a live stream of the Liturgy of the Word for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Click here:  https://youtu.be/NB0ZkzXayls


All Things Work Together for Good.mp3

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