Shikrot Mpwi – Sunday Synopsis with Fr. Justine J. Dyikuk
17th Sunday of the Year – July 30, 2023
Readings: 1 Kings 3:5,7-12; Responsorial Psalm Ps 118:57-72,76-77,127-130; Rom 8:28-30 & Gospel Matthew 13:44-52.
Theme: Secrets of the Kingdom!
The first reading discloses how King Solomon chose wisdom instead of riches or power over his enemies. In the second reading, St. Paul reveals that God cooperates with those who love him. The gospel unviels the parables of the hidden teasure, fine pearls and dragnet.
Friends in Christ, in today’s gospel (Matthew 13:44-52), Jesus relates three apocalyptic parables to us – the parable of the hidden treasure, the parable of the fine pearls and the parable of the dragnet.
Background and Summary of the Readings
The first reading (1 Kings 3:5,7-12) discloses how King Solomon chose wisdom instead of riches or power over his enemies. Interestingly, God gave him a heart wise and shrewd as none before him has had and none will have after him plus abundant riches.
In the second reading (Rom 8:28-30), St. Paul reveals that God cooperates with those who love him. He reveals that “those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.”
The gospel unviels three parables – the hidden teasure, fine pearls and dragnet:
a) The Parable of the Hidden Treasure: In this parable, we are presented with four things:
1. The Treasure: The hidden treasure stands for the Word and the Sacraments as well as the values of the kingdom such as love, charity and forgiveness.
2. The Field: As usual, the field is the world.
3. The Discoverer of the Treasure: The person who discovers the treasure represents subjects of the kingdom.
4. The attitude of selling everything to acquire the field: This stands for discovering the secrets of the kingdom so much so that one is not left in doubt about foregoing worldly power, the trappings of fame and fortune to embrace the poverty of the spirit for Christ’s sake.
b). The Parable of Fine Pearls: In the parable of the fine pearls, we are also presented with three things namely:
1. The Merchant: Closely related to the first parable, the merchant stands for the subjects of the kingdom.
2. The Fine Pearls: The fine pearls are spiritual treasures.
3. The attitude of selling everything to acquire it: That the merchant sold everything he owned, not some, means that the pearls are of inestimable value. This symbolizes the spiritual attitude of those who have discovered the secrets of the kingdom. For these Christians, nothing compares to either contemplative or active spirituality which is often in touch with God and man.
c). The Parable of the Dragnet: Apparently, the parable of the dragnet is the bridge between the first two parables. This is because it presents us with a resume of the previous parables. We shall take a critical look at the issues involved in this parable:
1. The Dragnet: The dragnet symbolizes the criteria for accessing good or bad. Certainly, the dragnet does not discriminate.
2. The Sea: The sea is the world.
3. Haul of all kinds, Collation and Sorting: The haul of all kinds stands for both subjects of the kingdom and subjects of the evil one from all nationalities of the world who coexist side by side and respond to the preaching of the gospel differently. However, the parable presents us with a patient God who suspends collation and sorting of the good fish from the bad stuff until the end of time. Obviously, the sorting is done by the angles.
1. Fear God: Like King Solomon, we are charged to develop a positive fear for God by asking for wisdom instead of riches or power over our enemies.
2. Submit to God’s Sovereignty: King Solomon teaches us that we can only discover the secrets of the kingdom when we submit ourselves to God’s sovereignty.
3. Choose Divine Wisdom: The message of St. Paul in the second reading that God cooperates with those who love him is a warm reminder to all Christians to choose divine wisdom rather than human
4. Seek Righteousness: The parables of the hidden treasure and fine pearls urge us to seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness as everything other thing would be added unto us (Cf. Matthew 6:33).
5. Be Patient with Sinners: The parable of the dragnet reveals God’s patience with sinners, invites us to do same as it affirms that retributive justice awaits all believers at the end of time.
1. The hidden treasure stands for the word and the sacraments as well as the values of the kingdom such as love, charity and forgiveness.
2. Discovering the secrets of the kingdom implies foregoing worldly power, the trappings of fame and fortune to embrace the poverty of the spirit for Christ’s sake
3. The fine pearls are spiritual treasures.
4. The pearls symbolize the spiritual attitude of those who have discovered the secrets of the kingdom.
5. The dragnet symbolizes the criteria for accessing good or bad. Certainly, the dragnet does not discriminate.
Today’s liturgy urges us to resist the temptation of winning the whole world at the expense of our souls (Cf. Mark 8:36). This means that we must not put God at the backyard of our lives while pursuing mundane interests. On the contrary, we are called to go the way of divine wisdom by asking God to help us discover the secrets of the kingdom which do not require rocket science. Have a blessed week!