Sermon for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A Homily: The Treasure

Pearl-of-Great-PriceThe goal of my life is to be with God for ever

 The sole goal of my life: St Ignatius of Loyola writes in his Spiritual Exercises (‘Principle and Foundation’ that has influenced the 2nd question of the Catechism of the Catholic Church – here paraphrased by David Fleming SJ):

The goal of our life is to live with God forever.  God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit. All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the centre of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening his life in me.

St Ignatius is attempting to offer a commentary on the dictum that Jesus had proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount, “Set your hearts on his kingdom first… and all these other things will be given you as well” (Mt 6:33). These lines were so literal for Solomon as we heard in the first reading of today.

Unless you sell all that you have:  In the gospel text of today, Jesus elaborates by means of two parables his own injunction to seek first the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God is like  treasure hidden in a field, you cannot attain it unless you sell all you have in order to take possession of the field, thus you show how much you value that treasure (Mt 13:44).  The Kingdom of God is like a precious pearl, you cannot possess it unless you sell all you have in order to be with it, thus you show how much the pearl is important for you (Mt 13:45).

I am created in the image of God (Gen 1:27).  And my heart is constantly thirsting to be one with its Origin. Therefore, the goal of my life is to be with God for ever – to be part of the Kingdom of God.  I need to prioritise this.  All things – my wealth and possessions, my family and relationships, my degrees and achievements – are only the means to reach this goal of my life: To be one with God for ever.  And the ‘ever’ begins now!  It is already here!