Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The parables of the Kingdom

“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. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away … Mt 13,44-49

The kingdom of the heaven, this spiritual reality which – Jesus says – is in the world but it is not of the world, is not easily definable, if the effects produced in the inhabitants of this particular monarchy are not described. The way chosen by Jesus to talk about it consists of a series of parables, which outline the main aspects. Those of today describe the different modes to meet the Lord on the road of the life. The first speaks to us about a man who is not really in search of the truth and not even of the answers on the great mysteries in which the humanity is immersed. It is a person who goes on his own way, pursuing personal goals which, as almost always it happens, are the money and the career. This man, without high ideals, has the merit of not living so inattentive to his earthly destiny and knows how to distinguish the real from the fake treasures. Thus, when going through the various fields of the life, he finds the most valuable, he goes, sells everything and buys that field. He recalls Moses, when seeing from afar the scorching bush burning without being consumed: he was not a man in search, his chance of glory had already passed and he had lost it, however it had not yet extinguished in him that curiosity of the person who is still waiting for answers from the life.The second parable tells us of a merchant in search of valuable stones. He is a man who, for his profession, knows how to seek and recognize what has value in the life. It may be that he is looking for answers in the philosophy, in the arts or in the sciences, or, as the Magi, he is looking it in the astronomy. But he does so with a sincere heart, being an expert in searching and without bias; so, when he meets the truly precious pearl, he goes and sells everything to buy that pearl, which clearly symbolizes the Lord. The third parable speaks about a net thrown into the sea by the fishermen and in which, when thay pulled it up, there is everything: good fish, bad fish, algae and dirt from the sea. Ultimately, the fishermen do the sorting and separate the good fish from the rest and here the parable ends. But we imagine that later there will be a second round of selection on the good fish, because in the life, as in fishing, there is a certain difference on what is valuable. It can happen, like Peter in the passage of the miraculous fishing, that one day, pulling up the net, there is so much of the good fish to recognize in that event the powerful hand of the Lord. At that point we have to leave the boat, the net and the fish on the beach and, like Peter, we have to follow the Lord.

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