SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 2014

Homily ·Ordinary time
By Archbishop Gomez
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
July 27, 2014


My sisters and brothers in Christ,1

It seems to me that the message of the Gospel today, the Gospel that we have just heard, is clear and simple.

Jesus is teaching us today that he is worth more than everything in the world. His Kingdom is the pearl of great price.

He is saying that he is the gift of divine compassion that God has given us, the one thing necessary to know joy and the purpose of our lives.

But Jesus is also telling us today, also, that we have to give up what we have — all our priorities and plans and all our old habits of living— in order to “buy” this pearl. In order to take possession of this gift that God is giving us.

So it is a beautiful and challenging message for us.

And our relationship with Jesus is something that we have to rediscover all the time— over and over again. As in every other relationship, there is always the possibility of doing better. So, my brothers and sisters, we always have to be rediscovering this great treasure of our faith in Jesus Christ.

And we have to go out in like that person in the parable of Jesus that we just heard. We have to go out and find Jesus. To get to know him better, on a

And we have to go out — like that person in the parable of Jesus that we just heard. We have to go out and find Jesus. To get to know him better, on a deeper level. And we have to make him — the first priority in our lives.

First, as we hear in our first reading today, we have to ask God for wisdom. We hear the beautiful dialogue between God and King Solomon. And God says to Solomon, Ask something of me and I will give it to you.

It is the same with us. God wants us to ask him for wisdom. He wants us to ask him for guidance and help.

So today, let us especially ask for the gift of wisdom, just as Solomon did. It’s so important to be able to have that wisdom to choose what is good. To choose God. To choose to increase that relationship with Jesus Christ.

Then St. Paul tells us in the second reading of today’s Mass, that God wants us to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

We are children of God! And he wants us to become more and more the image of Jesus.

So you see, God is calling us to beautiful life. Life in Jesus Christ. A life of joy and happiness. But to have that life, to hold that pearl of great price, as we all know, takes sacrifice.

Life with Jesus is a new life. So it means we have to give up our whole life and that’s challenging.

So we can see that the parable that Jesus tells us today about the pearl is also a parable that calls all of us to conversion. We do not just find Jesus and change our lives all at once. Life is complicated, as they say. So conversion to Jesus is something that happens slowly our whole life.

The important thing is for us to always be making progress in our spiritual life, in our relationship with Jesus. And that progress means that we are growing in that one aspect, and maybe sometimes just going backwards. Sometimes it means that we are very happy to be able to keep up whatever is not good in our lives. Sometimes is means that we go back to our old habits. It is a beautiful, interesting, enjoyable adventure of growing in that friendship with Jesus Christ.

When we have to make the decision and we ask for that wisdom today it’s the decision to try to have a deeper spiritual life.

We need to be talking more to Jesus, reflecting more on his words and example. You have to reflect on the face of Christ, the image of Jesus.

A few years ago, someone gave me a beautiful card, a small card, with a copy of an old painting of Jesus’ face. It is a painting from the 17th century, the original painting not the little card that I got. It’s a beautiful painting by a famous painter by the name of Juan Correa. The title of the painting is “Salvator Mundi” I still have it in my room. And on the back of the card is that famous quote from St. Augustine about how he finally found Jesus:

“Too late I have loved you, oh Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I have loved you! And behold, you were within, and I abroad, and there I searched for you; I was deformed, plunging amid those fair forms, which you had made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Things held me far from you — things which, if there were not in you, were not at all. You called, and shouted, and burst my deafness. You touched me, and I burned in desires for your peace.” Beautiful prayer.

So that little card is always helping me to look at the face of Jesus. And it helps me. And that’s way that we all should be. To have that desire of knowing more and more about the life of Jesus Christ.

Because the more that we contemplate him, the more that we contemplate how much he loves us, the more we are able to sell everything, to leave our own ways behind and follow him — the more happy that we are. Because we understand that he’s that precious pearl that’s giving us the joy and peace as St. Augustine said: “I burned in desires for your peace.”

But the reality is, my dear brothers and sisters, is that sometimes we don’t see the value of this or at least we have some many other things that are putting pressure on us that we don’t have the time to be able to spend time with Jesus.

Sometimes we don’t see the value in taking time to pray. But it is so important. So, my dear brothers and sisters, make sure that you find time every day, to pray. To contemplate the face of Jesus.

And we also have to remember that that’s not just something for special people. It’s for all of us. Because our spiritual life, that growing in our understanding of the love of God for each one of us, it must happen in our daily life. In living our ordinary life with Jesus.

Living with him every day, accompanying him in our work and in our family life. Developing the virtues and good habits that will keep us close to him.

So it’s so important to set aside the time to pray — to talk to God and to listen to God, just as King Solomon did and we hear about in the first reading of today’s Mass.

We also know that Jesus himself used to step away from his disciples so that he could be alone with God and pray. So we have to follow that example. We need to have a real prayer life. In the simplicity of our ordinary normal life, but finding the time to talk and to listen to God.

So as you can see, we are, all the time, rediscovering that the meaning of life is Jesus. This is the wisdom of the saints.

So let us ask for that grace, that gift of wisdom that we all make the decision once again today, to strengthen our relationship with Jesus’ Christ. To renew our decision to have a real, strong spiritual life. So that we can rediscover the “pearl of great price” — our friendship with Jesus Christ.

Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the Seat of Wisdom, to help us. May she help the pearl of great price.

1. Readings (Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A): 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Ps. 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130; Rom. 8:28-30; Matt. 13:44-52.

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