Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time | Year A

Posted on July 28, 2023 View all Gospel Reflection

In 1905, the world’s largest diamond, a 3,106-Carat Diamond called the Cullinan diamond, weighing over a pound and worth $2 Billion dollars, was found at the Thomas Cullinan Premier Diamond Mining Company in South Africa.

Many experts believe that the Cullinan diamond was only a fragment of an even bigger stone that still needed to be discovered.1  

In our Gospel today, the first discovery of buried treasure is accidental, and the finding of the pearl of great price was intentional.

The buried treasure is wisdom. Proverbs 2:4 and Sirach 20:30 refer to wisdom as something to be searched for like a hidden treasure. God said to Solomon in our First Reading, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon did not ask for a long life, wealth, or victory over his enemies; he asked for wisdom and God affirms Solomon’s choice to serve the standards of heaven first and foremost.

Fill in the blank: “I would give everything I have to get_______”. If possible, gather responses from your prayer group community!

You get wisdom from reflecting on the Scriptures, which include the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours, “The treasures of revelation and tradition to be found in the office of readings will also contribute greatly to the spiritual life,” says the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, in no. 55.

The re-hiding of the treasure in the parable is so the finder can own it by buying the field. The shift from the simple past tense (aorist tense) at the beginning of the parable to the present tense at the end draws attention the cost involved.2

You don’t necessarily have to get rid of all your possessions or in saying no to everything in the world. It’s found in saying yes to Jesus. And that yes starts every day in your prayer time. So fix your eyes on Jesus! As you realize how much of a treasure he is, everything else will pale in comparison. As you come to understand how deeply he treasures you, you will treasure him all the more. Your affection for him will grow, and you will find that you aren’t as focused on material things. You’ll start seeing them for what they are—as blessings meant to help bring you closer to him.3

Buying into the kingdom means giving up everything, especially old habits and ways of doing things that are destructive to ourselves and others.

E.g. In addiction recovery, whatever the details of the problem, one is dying spiritually- dying of guilt, fear, and loneliness. To enter into recovery, there is a saying that “half-measures availed us nothing”—only sobriety is the basic necessary condition for lasting freedom from the pain that brought one to their recovery program. Recovery is the key to a happy and joyful freedom that could otherwise not be known.

The only way to survive the coming cataclysm is to change from a life of sin and selfishness and pride, to the life that is for God. Those who ‘buy’ this will be ensuring their future safety and prosperity; and the cost of it is total abandonment, in faith.

Joy is a major motivation for both discipleship and evangelism—a joyful sacrifice in the discovery of the reality of Jesus and in the thoughtfulness of His commands…Spiritual joy is an incentive to deny the world to stay in possession of the Kingdom. ”4

1.     The Cape Town Diamond Museum website

2.     Mark L. Bailey, The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and of the Pearl Merchant, BIBUOTHECA Sacra 156, Apr-Jn 1999, 175-89

3.     The Word Among Us, July/August 2022, p 48.

4.     Ibid, Mark L. Bailey.