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Sunday, 7/30/2017, Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Humble Request—Great Rewards

First Reading Commentary 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12

How many people do you know who will give you anything and will give each and every time that you ask? There may be someone who is willing to give you anything but can they really? No matter how willing someone is to give to you, they can only give to the extent of their limitations.

God is the only one who can give without any limitations. God is the only one who can give life. God is the only one who can give of Himself so that we may have eternal salvation. We cannot give ourselves to another person as God gives Himself to us and we cannot provide for another person as God provides for us. We can only give in a worldly way. Everything of this world has limitations and as a result we cannot count on anyone or trust anyone or have faith in anyone the way that we can with God.

It pleases God when we ask Him for something which is consistent with His Will and He is quick to give with abundance. This is what happened when God appeared to the new King Solomon. God told Solomon to ask for something. Solomon realized his limitations as a new king who was still in his youth yet called to govern over a people too vast to be numbered or counted. So, Solomon asked God for wisdom saying, “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”

Notice that Solomon admitted to being a servant first and foremost. He did not place himself on a pedestal as a ruler over a people who were subject to him. Instead, Solomon saw his kingship as one of service to God. Solomon also admitted that the people were God’s people. Therefore, he was not master of the people but as king, he was to serve the people.

Solomon knew and had no problem with admitting that he could not perform the duties of being king without God’s help. He knew that understanding and good judgment came from God and that he could not govern God’s people without God’s understanding and judgment. Solomon knew what we should all know—Without God, we are nothing and can do nothing.

Because of Solomon’s humility, God was pleased with Solomon’s request. But God was also pleased at Solomon’s lack of selfishness. Solomon only asked for what would make him a better servant but he did not ask for anything for himself. He did not ask for a long life or for riches or for the downfall of his enemies.

So, God granted Solomon his request and said, “I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.” As is usually the case, God not only gave; God gave in abundance.

When reading Scripture, we have to remind ourselves that anytime we see God take action or hear God speak that God is not just one person. In Solomon’s dream, it is the Father who tells Solomon to ask for what he wanted and it is the Father who appears to have done as Solomon requested. I say “appears” because it is the Holy Spirit who gives us understanding, good judgment and wisdom. We are used to seeing the Father or the Son taking action but in Solomon’s case, it is the Holy Spirit who took action granting Solomon his request.

Remember too, that Solomon was David’s son. David was chosen by God to be the anointed one—the first messianic king. It is from David’s descendants that Christ, the Messiah, would come. This is important to note because when we look at Solomon and consider his request and the way that God fulfilled that request, we can see why when we pray, we should ask the Father to send the Spirit in the name of the Son.

To Be Called, Justified and Glorified

Second Reading Commentary Romans 8:28-30

What Paul wrote in this part of his letter to the Romans is in a nutshell, what happened with Solomon. He obviously loved God and like his father, David, Solomon was called according to God’s purpose.

Paul wrote, “For those he foreknew…” meaning those who are chosen or elected by God. Why are some of us elected by God over others to carry out His Will? Well, if we use Solomon as an example, we find in him; faith and humility. I want to focus on humility because of the way that Paul continues his sentence.

Paul wrote, “…he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” Paul is telling us that in order to fulfill God’s purpose and carry out God’s Will, we must be like the Son. Christ is the second person of the Trinity. He is God Almighty and yet, time and again, we see Christ demonstrate great humility and obedience to the Father.

We are all made in the image of God but that does not mean that we look anything like God. It means that we were made to live our lives in a Godly way which is in the image of His own actions.

When we are elected by God to carry out a part of His Will, we are chosen because God knows that we can and although we may be hesitant and/or afraid, ultimately; we will. God has faith in us and is there to help us along the way. But we must have faith in Him in order to accept the challenge and carry out the task and we must do it with humility. We must show our humility toward God who is our Creator and we must show humility to everyone around us because we are not superior to anyone else.

There is no finer example of such humility than the humility demonstrated by Christ. He showed humility toward the Father and lived a humble life in His efforts to teach the value of humility to all of us. When we emulate the humility of Christ, we live in His image and become the firstborn among many brothers and sisters because God calls us. We are justified by Him and we are glorified by Him in His Kingdom of Heaven.

No Greater Treasure Than a Win—Win 

Gospel Commentary Matthew 13:44-52

Jesus teaches us that there is no greater treasure than the Kingdom of Heaven. All of the combined wealth on earth cannot compare to the Kingdom and therefore, nothing should be more important.

We should be willing to sacrifice all that we have so that we can be with God in heaven. We should be willing to accept whatever trials and tribulations come our way. Nothing which is said or done by a non-believer should distract us.

There is nothing which is worth taking our eyes off of the prize of eternal life in heaven—not even this life on earth because it is only temporary. It is as Jesus told us when He said that we must die so that we may live. Eternal life should be priority one in this temporary life on earth because there is no greater treasure than being with God in heaven. Amen.

 But in the first two parables of today's gospel, Jesus is also telling us that we are His treasure and that nothing is more important to Him than the good which is within each of us. It is the treasure of our goodness that God seeks and He wants that treasure to be with Him in Heaven.

Jesus gave yet another parable about the Kingdom of Heaven saying that it is like a net thrown into the sea catching fish of every kind. When it is full it is hauled ashore. The good fish are put into buckets but the bad fish are thrown away. Jesus said that 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.”

Jesus is talking once again about Judgment Day and we are the fish which will be separated. What Jesus describes occurs in the Book of Revelations. We see the angels in Revelations 8:6-9 and again in Revelations 16:1-21. The pool of fire which is the fiery furnace is in Revelations 20:14-15 but the righteous who will inhabit the Kingdom are in Revelations 22:4-5.

Jesus asked the disciples if they understood these things. Jesus was speaking of all of the parables that he had given about the Kingdom when He asked this question. They said, “Yes.” Jesus said, “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.”

Jesus was telling the disciples that they bore the responsibility of spreading this gospel to the world. But when Jesus talked about bringing the old and the new, He was telling them to proclaim both the Old and the New Covenants. They were to proclaim the laws contained within the Commandments, which the Father gave to the Israelites when He made His covenant with them, because they were to be obeyed. The disciples were also to proclaim the reward of the Kingdom of Heaven contained within the Beatitudes because eternal joy in the Kingdom is the reward for those who obey the Commandments.

Our priests and bishops are descendants of the Apostles and as such, they are the scribes who Jesus deems as having been instructed—the head of the household who brings forth the old and the new. So, it is incumbent upon them to carry out this proclamation today.

But that responsibility does not stop with them. It belongs to all of us who believe and understand as the disciples did because we are all called to evangelize by our baptism. It is not necessary for us to preach. It is necessary for us to set an example by the way that we live our lives. It is also necessary for us to stand up for our faith and defend it at all costs.

          Think of it as a win—win. When we follow the Truth and the Light of Christ, we put ourselves on the path to eternal happiness in heaven. When we evangelize others by our example and by our proclamations, we show them the path to that same eternal happiness in heaven. If they follow, everybody wins and that is what God wants.

Reading 1          1 Kings 3:5, 7-12

The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, "Ask something of me and I will give it to you."
Solomon answered: "O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?"

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him: "Because you have asked for this—not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right—I do as you requested.
I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you."

Responsorial Psalm          Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130

R. (97a) Lord, I love your commands.

I have said, O LORD, that my part is to keep your words.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. Lord, I love your commands.

Let your kindness comfort me according to your promise to your servants.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.
R. Lord, I love your commands.

For I love your command more than gold, however fine.
For in all your precepts I go forward; every false way I hate.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
Wonderful are your decrees; therefore I observe them.
The revelation of your words sheds light, giving understanding to the simple.
R. Lord, I love your commands.

Reading 2          Romans 8:28-30

Brothers and sisters:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers and sisters.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

Gospel          Matthew 13:44-52

Jesus said to his disciples: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
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.

"Do you understand all these things?"
They answered, "Yes."
And he replied, "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."

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The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

Saint of the Day

Saint Peter Chrysologus
(c. 406 – c. 450)

The young king said to the LORD, "I am a mere youth...Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and distinguish right from wrong."

Solomon was and never will be equalled by any other king on earth as promised by the LORD because of the wisdom and understanding given to him by the LORD.

We are called by God to be justified and glorified by Him so that we can enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
for you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Today we hear three parables about the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure worth risking everything to have.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl worth selling everything that you own to buy it.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net thrown into the sea. When full, it is putlled in and the good fish are separated from the bad.

Saints of the Week

Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Patron Saint of: Retreats

Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Patron Saint of:
Theologians & Vocations

Saint Eusebius of Vercelli
(c. 300 – August 1, 371)

Saint Peter Julian Eymard

Saint John Vianney
(May 8, 1786August 4, 1859)
Patron Saint of:
Parish Priests & All Priests

Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilica

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