17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 26/7/2020 - Gospel: Mt 13: 44-46
There are three short parables in today's reading. The last parable which has only four verses, is the longest one. At first glance, the three parables are disjointed. There are no obvious connections amongst them, but when one examines each of them in detail, they correlate and are compatible with one another. They all have something in common, such as searching, finding, selling, purchasing and celebrating. None of these actions is free from risk. These human actions require personal commitment. They are time consuming. That requires self- sacrifice and patience . Searching, finding, selling and purchasing all require negotiating skills, and clever strategies. The whole process from start to end  gives hope, joy and, maybe even disappointment.  Hope and joy are in finding the treasure and purchasing. Disappointment comes with any hiccup in the process of doing the business. The act of owning the treasure or the pearl is the biggest challenge of all, because it is life changing.

Commitment to God's kingdom is life changing, and the adjustment to a new way of life in Christ interrupts a person's former way of life. The real change begins inside that person, from one's heart. The selection process of what to take and what to discard, makes the parable of the dragnet relevant to our daily living. Each day we do make choices, what to take and what not to. Where is one's priority in life?. In this sense the parable of the dragnet is not disjointed from the parable of the hidden treasure and the fine pearl, but it is well connected to them. Choosing to follow Jesus requires knowing what to discard,  what to throw away, to make room for Jesus in one's heart. Having faith in Jesus is worth much more than giving away whatever we own. Giving away is a big sacrifice, but it is worth doing it, because giving away many things with some value to take only the one with best value requires wisdom and courage. This is the way St Paul chose. Written in his letter to the Philippians revealed his insight: 'I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish  if only I can have Christ' Phil. 3,7-8. Losing everything for Christ means gaining everything in Christ, because only through Him, does our life gain true and everlasting meaning. 

Selling everything to buy the field, or the pearl is possible, but buying eternal life is impossible, simply because no one has it to sell. God alone has salvation. Nothing in this world can buy God's love, not even good works. God's love is given, and one must respond  with love to receive it. To those who love Jesus dearly with their heart; Jesus gives His heart. Faith in Christ is God's gift given freely for those who love God and God's people.  Selling everything for salvation means a person will do whatever it takes to have faith in Jesus. The parables proclaim that salvation is worth much more than whatever we have in life. Selling everything for salvation points to the reality that 'where your treasure is, there will your heart be also'. Mat 6,21.

Faith in Jesus requires personal commitment to take care of it. The more time one spends nurturing one's faith; the more joy is the reward.