Homily by Father Paul Wharton

How do you describe the indescribable? What can you say about the invisible? How can you explain the inexplicable?  The truth is that words aren’t good enough, but sometimes words are the best we can do.

What Jesus found helpful was to tell the stories. The parables today give us a glimpse, a taste, a sense of what was at the heart of Jesus preaching: the kingdom or the reign of God.

When Jesus spoke of the kingdom many people thought he was going to set up a political kingdom.   Not so! Some think today think he was talking about the place we all want to go when we die. Not so!

To speak about the “reign of God” instead of the “kingdom of God” helps me to begin to understand that what Jesus is talking is found whenever and wherever people put or at least try to put God first in our lives.

In today’s gospel, Jesus speaks about three ideas to keep in mind.

First, sometimes God can come to us in an unexpected or surprising fashion. In Jesus’ day it was not uncommon to find buried treasure because through the centuries many armies had passed through there. Hearing of an approaching army, people would hide whatever they could. Now, according to the law, found treasure belonged to the property owner. That’s why the man had to sell everything and buy the field. So when God surprises us, we have to respond and do something or the treasure of a genuine relationship with God can never be ours. In a word, we are called to REACT!

Second, sometimes we find God because we are actively searching and seeking for God’s presence or help in our lives. For example, a person in the hell of alcohol or drug addiction cries out in desperation or someone or his or her loved one is diagnosed with cancer turns to God wholeheartedly. Jesus tell us when we seek God, we must commit ourselves to the search. “Half measures avail us nothing.” In a word, we are called to COMMIT!

Finally, Jesus wants us to know it is important to sort the good from the bad. The word the Church uses for doing so is discernment. We consider something in light of the Bible in general & gospels in particular. We find out what the Church has taught and saints have said. We talk with a spiritual director, a priest, or a knowledgeable person. We pray that God will show us God’s will. In a word, we are called to DISCERN!

Today’s first reading tells us that given the choice of anything, King Solomon asked for wisdom, an understanding heart. Today’s gospel is an invitation to put God first in our lives. If we react, commit, and discern, if we say “YES!” to God, we will find the greatest treasure of all: a relationship with our great and glorious God.