Treasures are of great value, no argument here. And the treasures that we often have in mind are almost impossible to find. If it really exists, given a glimmer of hope, we will persevere through challenging conditions just to try to get our hands on it. Today we hear that this treasure is indeed real, and within reach. This treasure is a meaningful and fulfilling life that gives constant happiness and inner peace even if we are suffering one thing or another through life.
Living a good life, always looking out first for the other person, is never easy. The emotional conditions we need to go through are steeply challenging. The price to buy is high, seemingly so. The good news today is that this treasure is real for all of us. There is enough of it and all of us can afford it. But yes, conditions are challenging but we will get help. Living a good life, following Christ, lead us to the treasure of peace. How valuable is this in this new normal from this pandemic?
“‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’” (Today’s First Reading)
The currency we need to purchase this treasure of peace is the wisdom of Solomon. To barter for this wisdom, Solomon gave up hoarding his own life. He neither chose riches to put him ahead of others or revenge to set others back. This is the path of self-giving that will lead us to the treasure. Self-giving is always putting the other person first. And that is emotionally challenging.
Like a treasure hunt, we get clues along the path. Every little act of self-giving gives us a little satisfaction, contrary perhaps to what we expect of the cost to self. Satisfaction, like yeast ferments fulfilment. This is the help we get along the path as we make our way through our emotions of letting go of self, this taste of fulfilment that gives us the hint of peace.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” (Today’s Gospel)
Sometimes along the path of life, we get the clues wrong. We will make wrong choices. It is not easy living this life of self-giving. Like the wheat and darnel last week, today God reminds us that not once along this path will we be judged or condemned. That will only happen at the end of our life. This is the help we are given, as many clues as we need. The helpline here is the prayer of Solomon, to ask God for the gift of wisdom.
This pandemic with all its consequences has charged up the emotional conditions. But in each suffering, there is opportunity. Clues abound. The lesson from this pandemic is that humanity must act together. We are in this together. Simply put, to save our self, we must save the other first. Always look out for one another. This treasure of peace is real and available to all. No one need to lose out. The choice is ours, like it was Solomon’s. This is the wisdom of God.
17th Ordinary Sunday