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Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jul 28, 2020
unknown, originally uploaded by User:Alex Bakharev / Public domain
1st Reading: 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
Resp. Psalm: Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130 
2nd Reading: Romans 8:28-30
Gospel: Matthew 13:44-52

Today's Gospel is a continuation of last week's Gospel. Last week, Jesus talked about the good plants and the bad weeds. Both will be allowed to grow until harvest time, at which time the weeds will be cast into the fire and the good plants will be harvested and put to good use. So, Jesus was giving us a warning. We might think that those who give warnings are mean or cruel, but it is better to warn, to say "Please don't do this or that because it will hurt you," than to just strike and condemn without any warning. Even someone who is in a bad mood and says 'stay out of my way' does show some form of compassion. Now, I'm not at all encouraging any one of us to act like that, but again I want to make the point that Jesus warns us in order to stop us from harming ourselves.

Jesus said:

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. 

Again, Jesus is telling us that we have a choice to make. We either live according to what He says, through the teaching of His Church, the Catholic Church, or we run the risk of being lost forever. And the perilous thing about this is that we individually make the decision. That's why we who are on earth need more prayers than those in purgatory, even though we may not be aware of it. At least those who are in purgatory know that they will get to Heaven someday, after they are purified, but down here on earth, we can will, through mortal sin, to separate ourselves from God forever-- something that Jesus warns us in today's Gospel that is possible.

At the end of the Gospel, Jesus asked: "Have you understood all this?" YES, THEY REPLIED. In the same way, Jesus through His Church on earth asks us too, HAVE YOU UNDERSTOOD ALL THIS? Do we understand that we must give up all that we have, all that we cherish like the man in the Gospel who when he found the treasure in a field, he sold all he had in order to buy the field? That treasure is the kingdom of God, everlasting life! In other words, whoever truly understands the value of what Jesus offers will not hesitate to get rid of everything on his own to become poor in spirit, and in pure faith, in order to obtain what has been offered. BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS THEIRS. Those who deny themselves on earth in order to gain Heaven will succeed. We do this by the grace of God. He is the One who makes everything good possible.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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