• Rev. Lawrence E. Polansky

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

"He sells all that he has and buys the field ..."

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 68(67):6-7, 36 — “God is in His holy place, God who unites those who dwell in His house; He Himself gives might and strength to His people.”

First Reading: 1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12 — “You have asked for wisdom.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130 — “Lord, I love Your commands.”

Second Reading: Rom 8:28-30 — “God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

Alleluia: Mt 11:25 — “Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; for You have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Alleluia, alleluia.”

Gospel: Mt 13: 44-52 — “He sells what he has and buys the field.”

Communion Antiphon: Ps 103(102):2 — “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all His benefits.”

Making choices between wants and needs is a challenge we are apt to face almost daily as we are: 1) being bombarded with ads on TV for a new model car, 2) noticing the “For Sale” sign in front of the house that you have long dreamed of owning, 3) seeing the TV ad for a toy with bright packaging and a catchy jingle, 4) wanting the newest game or latest app for your X-Box or smart phone or 5) think about it for a moment and fill in the blanks between something you want and something you need. The truth is it takes a strong soul to step back from the enticing ads and the peer pressure to ask yourself, “Do I truly need this? OR do I simply want this?”

These types of questions demand a discerning mind. They resemble the question King Solomon had to grapple with when God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask anything of Me and I will give it to you.” Solomon forgoes the wants for fame and fortune and admits his need for understanding as he rules his people (1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12). In the dream, God offers Solomon whatever he asks for. Recognizing his inexperience and wanting to serve God the best he can, he asks for an understanding heart. God is pleased with his request and blesses him by granting it. In light of the “Do I want it, or do I need it” question, Solomon discerns wisely and is rewarded. However, Solomon, too, might have been wise in ruling a nation, but he is foolish in running a household. While being renowned for his wisdom, he doesn’t always act upon it. Depending on the circumstances, we too, can be wise and foolish in certain areas of our lives. Perhaps it would do us well to ponder some of those strengths and weaknesses from time to time.

In this weekend’s Second Reading, we would see that those who need God will be blessed. “We all know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28-30). God has a plan for those who love Him. In other words, things will work for the good for those who love and serve God.

By means of parables, Jesus instructs His followers the joys they will experience by recognizing their needs (Matthew 13:44-52). Treasures or pearls are found. The finder realizes the value of what was found, sees it as a ‘need,’ and sells everything to obtain it. The net thrown into the sea collects all kinds of fish – what may be wanted, as well as what is needed. At the Last Judgment, angels are the fishermen tending the nets. The needs will be saved while the wants are cast out. The parables in the Gospel of Saint Matthew illustrate how old and new work together – much like wants and needs. At times we may not ‘want’ something yet ‘need’ it. For example, we may not want to go to the dentist or the doctor, but doesn’t mean we don’t need dental care or medical treatment.

The readings today all speak of desire and purpose. They cause us to realize that although it is human to want things, we must make discerning needs our priority. We need God in our lives. As we prepare to celebrate the Eucharist, we do so aware of our need for the saving grace it offers as we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

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