Preacher’s Sketchbook: Seventeenth Sunday of the Year (Year A)

July 21, 2011

Bl. John Paul II, General Audience – September 18, 1991 

“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” (Mt 13:44). Analogously, there is the merchant in search of fine pearls: “When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it” (Mt 13:45). This parable instills a great truth in those who are invited: to be worthy of the invitation to the bridegroom’s royal feast it is necessary to show that one understands the supreme value of what is being offered. Hence, there must be a willingness to sacrifice everything for the kingdom of heaven, which is worth more than everything. No earthly good is comparable to it in value. One can abandon everything, without loss, in order to take part in the feast of Christ the bridegroom.”

Pope Benedict XVI

“In these two parables Jesus shows the supreme value of the Kingdom of heaven, and the attitude people need if they are to attain it. The parables are very alike, but it is interesting to note the differences: the treasure means abundance of gifts; the pearl indicates the beauty of the Kingdom. The treasure is something stumbled upon; the pearl, the result of a lengthy search; but in both instances the finder is filled with joy.”

Pope Benedict XVI, Homily 24 April 2005

Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? … No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ-and you will find true life.”

Saint Augustine

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God: for the Word of the Lord shines with the brightness of truth, and is solid with the firmness of eternity, and is every where alike with the beauty of Divinity: when the shell of the flesh is pierced through, God may be perceived.’ ” Additional Preaching Resources


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