HOMILY FOR THE SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
HOMILY THEME: THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
BY: Fr Unachukwu Cyril CCE
We are sons and daughters of the Kingdom of heaven. In this Kingdom we realize our true identity and discover the true meaning of our existence. May nothing steal your citizenship of this Kingdom; Amen.
Since three Sundays now, we have been meditating on the parables of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew about the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Gospel of Matthew, the expression “the Kingdom of Heaven” means absolutely the same thing as “the Kingdom of God.” In every part of these parables, Jesus teaches us a new thing about the Kingdom of God. Also in the three parables of the Gospel of today (Mt 13:44-52) we see yet another deepening of our knowledge of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the most important thing for any person who believes in God, because the Christian life itself is a preparation to live with God in His Kingdom forever. Every day of our live is a gift, another opportunity from God to us to prepare to live with our Creator in eternity. To achieve this goal, we must put to use everything God has given us; our life, our faith, our acquisitions, our talents, in fact, everything we have is an opportunity at our disposal because each and every one of them comes from God.
In the first and the second parables of the Gospel, we heard the responses of the two persons recounted to us; “they went with great joy, sold everything they own and bought the field of treasure and the pearl of great value” respectively. We must note here that both the field with the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value mean the Kingdom of God. They express the indescribable value of God’s Kingdom. Through the attitude of these two persons, Jesus invites us to give the desire for the Kingdom of God the first place in our lives. The desire for the Kingdom of God and eternal life in this Kingdom is what gives meaning to our Christian life, to our spiritual life and to our daily effort to conform ourselves to the Will of God. Without this desire in us to reign with God in His Kingdom, our faith and the Christian life is empty and without focus.
In the First Reading (I Kgs 3:5, 7-12), we heard also of the encounter between God and Solomon in a dream. Irrespective of how modern sciences may want to explain away dreams, it is very clear in the bible that God can encounter us in dreams with special messages. Many experiences of the saints and of many men and women of goodwill affirm this too. However, we must also be careful never to impose spiritual meaning on every dream. There is always need for proper spiritual discernment in this regard. Contrary to what many may wish if given this kind of opportunity, Solomon simply prayed for “a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil.” In the choice of Solomon, we see a man who has given the will of God the first post in his life. Following the will of God remains the surest path to possessing an inheritance of His Kingdom.
Solomon’s choice makes him of the same stalk with the two persons we heard of the Gospel. Like them, Solomon chose that which can direct one through the road that leads to eternal life, to the Kingdom of God. This type of attitude is what decorates us and makes us ready to be part of ‘the just’ at the end of time which Jesus noted in the third parable of the Gospel. In the world, we will always find things very attractive, but nothing can be more attractive than the Kingdom of God. In the words of my Father Founder, the Founder of the Emmanuelites, “we have seen already diverse types of beauty, but this one here is unique, it has no comparison. Any beauty that is not here is nowhere else; how wonderful you are oh Lord our God, it is lovely to dwell here in your presence.” In the Kingdom of God we experience the full presence of the King and we see Him as He really is.
May God give us the grace just as He gave Solomon today and the two persons of the Gospel to give the search for His Kingdom the first place in our lives; Amen.