Homily August 2nd, 2023 

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time – Option 2- Mt 13:44-46

Today’s very brief Gospel presents two more parables of Jesus: that of the treasure buried in the field, and that of the pearl of great price. There are a few things that catch our attention about the passages: first, in both parables the man goes and sells “everything he has,” or, perhaps more literally, “the whole of what he possesses,”[1] in order to buy the field or the pearl. In other words, there are no half-measures, or indecision. Everything is sold; this leaves him with nothing but the secret and, in the end, the thing that he desires the most.

Single-minded dedication to sanctity is the distinguishing mark of all the saints throughout all times. No matter what they were called to do specifically in their lives, each and every one of them had a firm resolve to be holy. “Saints are not born out of the blue. They are weighed down with the same weak human nature we all have, and they experience the same temptations. The difference is that they say a complete ‘Yes’ to the healing grace God offers to everyone, whereas most of us say ‘maybe,’ or ‘somewhat,’ or ‘wait a while . . . not yet.’”[2] For so many saints, we can pinpoint a moment in their lives where they simply surrender everything and gave all to God. At the age of 11, Venerable Maria Teresa Quevedo wrote one resolution from her retreat: “I have decided to become a saint.” Or, as Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat was asked by her brother, “How can you be satisfied with mediocrity, when heroism is within your grasp?” The question changed her life, and from that point on, there was no looking back.

Once we find that treasure, we must continue to live an undivided life. As some have pointed out, pearls are one of the few precious jewels that are only valuable as a whole; in other words, you don’t cut them or make them different shapes. The gifts of finding our faith, and the gifts of our vocations, can’t be cut up and made into something different; if we try to do that, we lose the great thing we’ve found. Of course, the best way to continue constantly on the path to holiness is to stay close to the sacraments, but also to be faithful in our daily examination of conscience.

Likewise, both of the finders in today’s Gospel are overwhelmed with joy: the first explicitly so, and the second implicitly. Jesus Christ, and our lives following Him, are to be our constant source of joy. Notice that joy comes even in the moment of giving things up, because it’s done in light of obtaining the treasure. So, too, should our joy be on account of the knowledge that we are doing God’s will.

Let us pray through the intercession of Mary, Mother of All Vocations, for the grace to constantly seek after holiness, and to never let the flame of our love for God be extinguished.  

[1] Cf. Stanley E. Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament.

[2] Thomas Dubay, Fire Within, 15.



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