Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time ~ July 26, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

This Sunday, Jesus continues to instruct us about the Kingdom of heaven. The Gospel gives three parables of the Kingdom of God, about heaven. It says: “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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea…”

These parables are fitting for us as Christians and indeed for everyone, recognizing our eternal home in heaven, the priceless place of God’s throne for us. The Catechism explains this to us; “Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme.” (CCC. no.1024)

Jesus is himself the Kingdom of God. To enter the Kingdom of God, therefore, is to enter into a relationship with Jesus. When we are with Jesus, we are in a state of supreme happiness, our greatest treasure.

The man who found the buried treasure in a field sold everything he had in order to buy that field. The merchant who found the pearl of great price sold everything in order to buy it. Jesus is talking about the priceless value of heaven that one can readily sacrifice everything just to possess it.

Can we let go of our valued possessions in favor of heaven? Are we willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven? Are we ready to leave behind our tasks at home just to be here at Mass on Sunday? Are we ready to let go the things that distract us and to focus more on Jesus? Do we invest most of our time in the things of God or the things of this world?  How often do we treasure more of the things of Heaven than the material things of this world? Remember, the scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity." We are al pilgrims on this earth. On the last day we shall all give an account of our lives. Let’s be faithful in our dealing with the things of God. Hebrews 13:14 “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”

Our home is heaven where we long to be through our good deeds.  Let’s fix our eyes on the Lord’s promise of eternal glory in heaven. Heaven is real, for it is Jesus himself. And Jesus is here with us in the Mass!

As we seek Jesus and the Kingdom of heaven, let us continue to pray that God may grant us the gift of his wisdom, just as he granted Solomon the gift of his wisdom, and to open our hearts and eyes of faith to recognized the value and importance of what it means to come to Mass every Sunday to encounter Jesus in Word and in Sacrament.

Despite the challenges, distractions and limitations of this material world, may we fervently appreciate the sacrifice of the Holy Mass as a great blessing and a precious opportunity for us to encounter Jesus, and to have a taste heaven on earth.

God is good…all the time.

God bless you.

Fr. Daniel E. Ogbeifun