Bulletin: July 30, 2017
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Parables and more parables. What have we to learn about the reign of God from so many parables? The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea. These parables are not hard to understand, for they all point to something valuable being searched for: a treasure, a pearl, good fish. Those who search for these things give up what they have to acquire these precious things. Those who search are praised for their wisdom in valuing what they find more than what they already have. Even the fishermen can distinguish what is good from what is useless and to be discarded.
The kingdom of heaven is something precious to be sought, even above the good things we have in this world. It is more important than anything we already have and treasure. Jesus says that at the end of the age when the good shall be separated from the bad, the good will enjoy the happiness of the kingdom of heaven.
THE NEW AND THE OLD
It is holy wisdom that allows us to realize how valuable the kingdom is. One more parable ends this reading: “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old” (Matthew 13:52). It is like the Church, which knows what to keep from the traditions of the past and what to cherish in the present time. Tradition is something passed down from generation to generation, but not necessarily unchanged. For example, we always have cake to celebrate birthdays. And yet, perhaps in the past that always meant a white or yellow cake with vanilla frosting. Today, it can mean a chocolate cake, an ice cream cake, or even a fruit pie! It can have the number of candles of the birthday person’s age, or a candle for each decade and one for each subsequent year, or one big candle. It can even have, as once seen in a catalogue, Roman numeral candles to spell out the years! Traditions can change and still convey the truths they represent. So it is with the Tradition of the Church. The wise leaders bring forth both the new and the old, and seek in the kingdom what is good.
Today’s Readings: 1 Kgs 3:5, 7–12; Ps 119:57, 72, 76–77, 127–130; Rom 8:28–30; Mt 13:44–52 [44–46]