+ HOMILY +
Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
28 July 2002
FR. ROB HANKEE
ST. MALACHY CATHOLIC CHURCH
Scriptual Reference: Kings 3:5, 7-12; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52

Christ: Our Buried Treasure and Fine Pearl

       There was movie that came out several years ago called When Harry Met Sally (1989). The movie shows the friendship between Harry and Sally, how it began and developed over the years. It shows two people searching for that perfect relationship that will bring them love, joy and happiness. Throughout the movie, they share with each other their joys and struggles in their search for that ideal wife or husband. And towards the end of the movie, Harry realizes that what he has been looking for all along was right in front of him. And in his marriage proposal to Sally, Harry uses this line:

"When you find out what you want to do with the rest of your life, you kinda want the rest of your life to start right now."

       I imagine that this is how the man who found the buried treasure and the man who purchased the pearl felt. These two men were searching for that one thing that would bring them the joy and happiness that they did not have. And when they found it, they sold everything they had for they would do anything to possess it. This buried treasure and pearl marked for them a newness of life. A buried treasure that allowed one to live in a way that he could not have before. A pearl that brought beauty into the life of the one who admired it. In this buried treasure and this pearl, these men found their joy and happiness that they were searching for. They now had fulfillment and meaning in their lives. As if upon that moment of discovery of the buried treasure and pearl, the rest of their lives finally began.

       We live in a material world where we are bombarded each day with statements and ideas on television, the radio, newspapers and magazines that in order to be happy we need to have this product, this appliance, this TV, this car. For if we possess these things, not only will we be happy, but we will be the envy of all our neighbors. The world we live in continues to tell us that not only is happiness found in material goods, but that we, as persons, are defined by the things we possess. We, however, know from our experience that this simply is not true. Material goods can never quite give us that fulfilling joy and happiness that we all long for, that we all seek in our lives. And yet, Jesus chooses to compare the kingdom of heaven to the acquisition of material goods.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field... The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls."

       In these two parables,Jesus is showing us the supreme value of the Kingdom of heaven and the attitude we need to have to attain it. For the treasure buried in the field that Jesus speaks of is not about material wealth, rather it is the abundant gifts that God has given us, and the pearl symbolizes the beauty of God's kingdom. The attitude of the two men who acquired this treasure and this pearl are the same. They sell everything they have, which shows an act of detachment and generosity. This is the same attitude that Jesus tells us we need to have. This is not to say that we must sell everything we own, but the possession of the kingdom of heaven does come at a cost.

       We are called by Christ to detach our selves from the things of this world and to seek our happiness and joy in him. For in this Word of life, we are given our true treasure. And in this Holy Eucharist, at this altar, we see our true pearl.

       Christ is the source of our joy, of our happiness. He is the one who brings fulfillment, meaning, and direction in our lives. By keeping Christ daily as our primary focus, we are all assured upon our death that the rest of our lives will start in the glory and beauty of God's heavenly kingdom. For this is the treasure and the pearl we seek, and it is only found in Jesus Christ. +



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