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Nov 30, -0001 Written by  Fr. Paulino Twesigye Mondo

17th Sunday in ordinary time ‘year A’ Be the first to comment!

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Theme: God, bless us with wisdom

Has it ever happened to you to imagine that one day you could find yourself the President, Prime minister, Inspector General of Police, a millionaire for a while; .... what would you do? What if you won the lottery; how would you spend it? Obviously, the answers to these ‘What if?’ queries would vary, depending upon the respondent’s age, background, circumstances in life and preferences. Young children, for example, may wish to meet Superman, but those mature in the business of living would probably reflect that maturity in their answers rooted in and shaped by the values a person holds.

First reading: 1Kings 3:5, 7-12

When Saul became Israel’s first king, he was anointed by Prophet Samuel as a sign of divine approbation to the extent that the Spirit of the Lord descended upon Saul cf. 1Samuel 10: 1-6. After Saul was deposed, David was approved and legitimized by a similar anointing and reception of the Spirit. Later, David in turn was anointed by the tribes of Judah. While there is no account of Solomon’s anointing and reception of the Spirit, today’s first reading is a passage from what has been called a royal legitimization cf.1Kings 3:4-15. Dreams, like this one by Solomon; function as vehicles of divine revelation. Solomon’s revelatory ‘dream’ and ‘ceremony’ of legitimization took place at Gibeon, one of Israel’s sanctuaries. At God’s request, Solomon prayed by mentioning his father David thus alluding to the divine promise that their dynasty would not end and acknowledged that that promise was being realized in his own accession as king. Solomon felt young and inadequate for the task of governing a people which had grown “so vast that it could not be numbered or counted” 1Kings 3:8. Through prayer he was granted intellect and will to execute this responsibility.

King Solomon requested mind and will attuned to God, attentive to his people and capable of wisdom and discernment. God’s approval to Solomon’s request is reflected in the fact that in addition to a listening and discerning heart, he was also blessed with riches, glory, and a long life. Evidence of Solomon’s wisdom and discernment are borne out in the ensuing chapters of 1Kings wherein he settled the case of the women who claimed the same baby cf. 1Kings 3:16-28. He proved himself a good administrator in chapter 4, a builder in chapters 5-7, a businessman in chapter 9 and an excellent diplomat in chapter 10. Unfortunately, Solomon’s service as king because he became ambitious and lost vision, we need to be careful not to misuse our God given gifts.

Second reading: Romans 8:28-30

According to the Gospel of St, John, the momentum for Peter’s rehabilitation after denying Jesus was love. Three times Jesus, who knew Peter’s heart, asked the fallen man, “Do you love me?” John 21:15 and three times Peter professed his love. Their relationship set right once again, Jesus called Peter to himself with a renewed invitation to “Follow me” John 21:19. The pattern of Peter’s rehabilitation from a struggling sinner to redeemed participant in God’s glory is the same pattern reflected in today’s second reading. Like Peter, those who love God are called by him. Foreknown by him, God intends that those he has called will be conformed to the image of Christ, justified through his cross and glorified with him. The term ‘those who love God’, is Paul’s definition of a Christian. The love of God which is commanded in the Bible is nothing less than the response of a human person in the totality of his/her being to the previous love of God.

With the word ‘predestined’ in Romans 8:29, Paul reminds us that we should keep in mind distinction between God’s active will, which intends the salvation of all and his passive will which respects individual human freedom to appropriate salvation or not. It is Paul’s intention to assure every believer that salvation is a certainty because God has planned it to be so. We are all privileged to share in God’s encompassing love and mercy which He freely extends to all people. Heaven has no squatters; salvation is God’s gracious gift to all who believe, and for those who love him, all things work together for good. To be justified means to be made right in the eyes of God, to be declared free of sin. It means being in a perfect state of holiness as Adam was when God first created him. That is the condition that is necessary to be glorified by God. How is justification possible? There are two phases to being justified in Christ; we are justified during the Sacrament of Baptism and through continuous reconciliation and both are absolutely necessary to inherit the Kingdom of God. Today we are being invited by the word of God to respond to the grace of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that through the embracing of this calling, our joy may be complete in the Name of Jesus who alone is able to justify us.

Gospel: Matthew 13:44-52

In human history, Artists can be among the most striking personalities. With their paint and blush, they are gifted to retrace one’s life and expose it on the wall. Today’s gospel is like a painting about the Kingdom of Heaven. We are presented with three parables told by Jesus. Each of the three stories is drawn from the working class environment that would be understood and known by Jesus’ Apostles. The stories involve farmers, fishers and merchants. As straightforward as the stories seem to be, there is in them more than meets the eye. As an example let us look in depth at the first one: the man who buries a treasure he has found. The fact that he has buried it probably means that it wasn’t legally his.  For example, if you found a wallet in the path filled with money, but it had a name in it, and you kept it for yourself saying ‘finders keep all’, that would be wrong! He may have actually found this treasure buried in a field that wasn’t his.  It was common for people in that epoch to bury things so they wouldn’t be stolen, and sometimes they died without telling anyone where they had buried their treasure. It would belong to the people whose property it was on, the heirs of the original owner. Here it means ‘someone without rights of inheritance’ found the treasure buried it himself and kept the location secret for future until he/she acquires legally the place.

The second parable, of the pearl of great price, is similar, but with a little variation.  The merchant in this story makes his living by buying and selling.  He does not really stumble upon the pearl; he is looking for one and finds it. Knowing that he can make a great deal of profit from this expensive pearl, he too sells everything he has to purchase it. In this case, he is like one searching for the kingdom of heaven and when he finds it, he does like the apostles did; he gives up everything to purchase it because it will make him rich in times to come. Both of these stories make the point that to follow Jesus, to attain the kingdom of heaven, there are going to have be sacrifices made.

The last story is a little different. In this parable the kingdom of heaven is presented as being offered to everyone.  The fisherman’s net was thrown into the sea and everything was caught up in that net.  But when it was hauled ashore, the fisherman had to distinguish between the good and the bad fish.  Bad fish were dead fish that were not allowed to be consumed in the code of Jewish Law. Just as in other parables, Jesus says that the good and the bad co-exist until the fisherman separates them. This falls in line with Jesus’ teaching on not judging people; only God can do that.  In the end Jesus says that the fish will be separated, clean and unclean, just as God will make a final judgment.

Today we have to learn that God’s ways are not our ways. His judgments are not our judgments. We need to patient, not judge and see error as an opportunity inherent in helping others convert and believe in God. We have to be like Jesus who was never quick to condemn.

The end of this Gospel is Jesus asking his rather slow Apostles whether they understand what he was teaching. They say they do. The final statement of Jesus to the apostles is “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” Matthew 13:52. Jesus has been training us today to be scribes. If you look up scribes in the dictionary you will find that it means ancient Jewish record-keepers. It means every disciple is to pass on the treasure of the kingdom of heaven to others. Faith grows only when it is shared out to others.

Application

Like Solomon we need to ask God for wisdom, a treasure beyond price and truly rare. Like Paul we need to extol the treasure of God’s grace. Like Matthew we ought to speak continuously of the greatest treasure, the kingdom of heaven. All these treasures are more than worth risking everything to seek them and make them our own. A careful investors would regard such behavior as risky and foolish; but the treasure of the reign of God warrants any cost and any risk. I am sure that this is our prime option since we are will to gather today to learn how and where to discover the treasure.

 

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Sunday Masses

Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

Crowd possible, please don't be late! May God bless you!

About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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