Liturgy of the Sunday

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Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Feast of Joachim and Anna, ancestors of the Lord. Remembrance of all the elderly who lovingly communicate their faith to the youth. Memorial of Mary, a mentally ill woman who died in Rome in 1992. With her we remember all who are mentally ill.


First Reading

1 Kings 3,5.7-12

At Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream during the night. God said, 'Ask what you would like me to give you.' Now, Yahweh my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. And here is your servant, surrounded with your people whom you have chosen, a people so numerous that its number cannot be counted or reckoned. So give your servant a heart to understand how to govern your people, how to discern between good and evil, for how could one otherwise govern such a great people as yours?' It pleased Yahweh that Solomon should have asked for this. 'Since you have asked for this,' God said, 'and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as no one has had before and no one will have after you.

Psalmody

Salmo non trovato : /home/segidio/www/2018.santegidio.org/en/preghiera/salmi/118.htm

Second Reading

Romans 8,28-30

We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good. He decided beforehand who were the ones destined to be moulded to the pattern of his Son, so that he should be the eldest of many brothers; it was those so destined that he called; those that he called, he justified, and those that he has justified he has brought into glory.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 13,44-52

'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off in his joy, sells everything he owns and buys the field. 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it. 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that is cast in the sea and brings in a haul of all kinds of fish. When it is full, the fishermen bring it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in baskets and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the upright, to throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. 'Have you understood all these?' They said, 'Yes.' And he said to them, 'Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom new things as well as old.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The three parables of today's passage (13:44-52) are an urgent invitation to their listeners to choose to pursue the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, the heart of Jesus' preaching. The kingdom is a true treasure, a rare pearl, Jesus say, echoing what is said about spiritual wisdom in the Old Testament, where it is described as "an unfailing treasure for mortals; those who get it obtain friendship with God" (Wis 7:14).
Even though they relate to the wisdom tradition, the first two parables do not emphasize the discovery of the treasure or the search for the precious pearl. They instead focus on the decision made by the farmer and the merchant to sell everything and put all of their resources into the thing they have discovered. Indeed, they have to sell everything they possess, but the thing they are buying is beyond compare. They must make a "sacrifice," as the Gospel suggests in the episode of the young rich man, but the profit gained from the new choice is far greater. In short, the "kingdom of heaven" is worth this sacrifice. And besides, how often are we ready to sell everything, even our souls, to get something we want! The problem is actually whether we want the Lord and his friendship and if we are capable of recognizing the joy and fullness of life that are "unexpectedly" offered to us, just as the treasure and the pearl are unexpectedly found by the farmer and the merchant.
John Chrysostom's commentary on this Gospel passage is splendid: "[with these two parables,] we are then to learn not this only, that we ought to strip ourselves of everything else, and cling to the Gospel, but also that we are to do so with joy; and when a man is dispossessing himself of his goods, he is to know that the transaction is gain, and not loss... they that have hold of [the Gospel] know that they are rich." Being rich for a disciple does not mean possessing things but being a friend of God, being loved by God. This is what we learn from the choice made by the young Solomon, as reported in the first reading (1 K 3:5,7-12). At the moment when he is about to assume maximum responsibility over the people, he does not ask God for a long life or for the riches of the world, but for a heart that will listen to God's will, and "an understanding mind to govern [the] people, able to discern between good and evil."
The last parable is inspired by fishing: catching and sorting fish on the shores of the lake. It echoes the parable of the weeds: good and evil are mixed as long as the world endures. God only separates good and evil at the end. This division will impact each one of us, because no one can be free of sin. What counts is not boasting of our own righteousness, but trusting in the friendship of God, who does not come to the healthy, but the sick, and who does not go out to find the righteous, but sinners. The great choice demanded by the Gospel is to allow the friendship of God to grow within and around us. That is the treasure for which it is worth selling everything.