Reflections

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, JULY 26, 2020

PRAYING FOR GOD’S WISDOM
1. What Do We Treasure Most?
2. For What Do I Risk Everything?
 
Greeting (cf. Second Reading)
God chose us especially long ago
and destined us to become true images of his Son,
so that Jesus might be the eldest
of many brothers and sisters.
May our brother Jesus be always with you. R/ And also with you.
 
Introduction
1. What Do We Treasure Most?
To understand what is most precious to you, do not think of your usual concerns and cravings, for they are on the surface of things. Think of a moment of crisis in your life, when you have to choose the only thing that counts. What is it? You, things you have, or the Lord? Do you have the courage to make the right choice? Ask the Lord to let you choose him and his kingdom. All the rest does not count.
 
2. For What Do I Risk Everything?
People often dream of finding a treasure or winning the first prize in the state lottery. The message of today asks us: to you, Christian, is your faith, your Christian living, your closeness to God the treasure of your life? Are you willing to risk everything for this treasure? God’s kingdom, the gospel, our faith are the pearl and the treasure that we have to find and keep. Let the Lord make you rich with these.
 
Penitential Act
We ask now the Lord to forgive us
that too often our heart was not fixed on him
but rather on ourselves, on possessions and power.
(pause)
 
Lord Jesus, you have brought us the treasure
of the love of the Father:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
 
Jesus Christ, by your death
you have won for us the treasure
of forgiveness and life:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
 
Lord Jesus you have left us in the Eucharist
the treasure of your presence and strength:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
 
Lord, in your immense kindness
forgive us all our sins.
Lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.
 
Opening Prayer
Let us pray God our Father
for discerning hearts
(pause)
Lord God, our Father,
our heart remains restless
until it has discovered the peace you offer us
in your Son Jesus Christ.
Help us to put our trust and joy
not in brittle, perishable things
but in your Son, his Good News
and the kingdom he came to build among us.
Make us poor and receptive,
give each of us an attentive and wise heart
that keeps seeking until we have found you
in Jesus and in people,
and love you and rest in you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
 
First Reading: God’s Treasure of Wisdom
Those who seek the wisdom to discriminate between right and wrong and to do God’s will as the highest gifts are blessed by God. This was Solomon’s experience.
 
1 Reading: 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered: “O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?” The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request. So God said to him: “Because you have asked for this—not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right—I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.”
 
Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
R. (97a) Lord, I love your commands.
 
I have said, O LORD, that my part
is to keep your words.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces. R.
 
Let your kindness comfort me
according to your promise to your servants.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight. R.
 
For I love your command
more than gold, however fine.
For in all your precepts I go forward;
every false way I hate. R.
 
Wonderful are your decrees;
therefore I observe them.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple. R.
 
Second Reading: God’s Wise Plan with Man
On God’s initiative, we are called to be his sons and daughters. Those who respond to this call will be glorified with Jesus, whose image they are.
 
2 Reading: Romans 8:28-30
Brothers and sisters: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.
 
Alleluia Cf. Mt 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
for you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel: God’s Kingdom is the Most Precious Treasure
God’s kingdom is worth more than anything else in the world. We should be ready to give up everything else for its sake.
 
Gospel: Matthew 13:44-52
Jesus said to his disciples: “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. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. “Do you understand all these things?” They answered, “Yes.” And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”
 
Intercessions
The ministry entrusted to us, the Church, is to pray for everyone and all, that they may discover the treasure of faith. Let us say:
 
R/ Lord, hear your people.
– For all Christians, that they may hold dear their faith and their life in Christ and keep living up to their convictions, let us pray to the Lord:
R/ Lord, hear your people.
– For people everywhere, that they may open their eyes and their hearts to the Good News of Jesus Christ, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear your people.
– For the leaders of nations, that as they work for prosperity and progress they may not lose sight of what is essential, that is: people, and the deepest human values, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear your people.
– For those who are rich in possessions and talents, that they may put their gifts and goods at the service of people, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear your people.
– For the sick and the poor among us, that they may discover in the loving care of people something of the goodness of God himself, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear your people.
– For our young people, that their parents and the Church may hand on to them their living faith and the spirit to serve God and people well, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear your people.
 
Lord, we thank you that in you we have found the treasure that makes our life worthwhile. Keep us in your love, now and for ever. R/ Amen.
 
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
create between you and us
a holy communion of love.
Come among us in Jesus Christ
in this Eucharist and in daily life.
Reign in us, take possession of us
to rule and forgive,
to sanctify and enlighten,
to lead us and to renew us by your grace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
 
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
With Jesus, we give thanks to the Father for the treasure he has given us in our faith and the pearl of his kingdom.
 
Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer
With Jesus our Lord
we pray first of all to our Father in heaven
that his kingdom come
and that we may do his will. R/ Our Father…
 
Deliver Us
Deliver us Lord, from our concentration
on material needs and security
and make us truly concerned
to seek always your will
and to work for the coming of your kingdom.
Keep us free from discouragement
when your justice and truth are slow in coming,
and keep alive our joyful hope
that one day we shall see
the full coming among us
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom…
 
Invitation to Communion
This is Jesus, the Lamb of God,
whose image we are called to become.
Happy are we to be invited
to eat his bread of life
and to share in his glory. R/ Lord, I am not worthy…
 
Prayer after Communion
God our Father,
in this Eucharistic celebration
you have given us again your own Son.
Let him nourish in us
the growth of your kingdom.
May he open our eyes to the goodness
and yet the relative value
of the things of this earth
May he help us realize
that our human personality and existence
are nothing else than the concrete manner
in which we respond to your call
and build up your kingdom.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. R/ Amen.
 
Blessing
At the end of this celebration
perhaps the answer has become clearer
what it is that really matters in our life.
Where do our real and lasting joy lie?
Is it in God, his kingdom,
in the love and mercy he shows us in Christ?
We know it is a joy for him
that we are here as his people.
May he be our joy and treasure too, now and always.
May almighty God bless you and be your happiness,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
Let us go in the peace and the joy of the Lord. R/ Thanks be to God.
 
Commentary
As we sometimes do, we shall be publishing the brief words of the Holy Father as the Commentary for this Sunday.
WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER
It is true that the Kingdom of God is offered to all — it is a gift, it is a present, it is a grace — but it does not come on a silver platter: it requires dynamism; it is about searching, journeying, working hard. The attitude of searching is the essential condition for finding. The heart must burn with the desire to reach the valuable good, that is, the Kingdom of God which is made present in the person of Jesus. He is the hidden treasure; he is the pearl of great value. (Angelus, 30 July 2017)
cf <www.vaticannews.va>

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