The Final Harvest
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Mt 13:44-52
44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like this. A man happens to find a treasure hidden in a field. He covers it up again, and is so happy that he goes and sells everything he has, and then goes back and buys that field.
45 Also, the Kingdom of Heaven is like this. A man is looking for fine pearls,
46 and when he finds one that is unusually fine, he goes and sells everything he has, and buys that pearl.
47 Also, the Kingdom of Heaven is like this. Some fishermen throw their net out in the lake and catch all kinds of fish.
48 When the net is full, they pull it to shore and sit down to divide the fish: the good ones go into their buckets, the worthless ones are thrown away.
49 It will be like this at the end of the age: the angels will go out and gather up the evil people from among the good
50 and will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and grind their teeth.
51 Do you understand these things?” Jesus asked them. “Yes,” they answered.
52 So he replied, “This means, then, that every teacher of the Law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of a house who takes new and old things out of his storeroom.”
Other readings: 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130; Romans 8:28-30
Matthew 13 concludes with three more parables about the Kingdom of Heaven. The first two underline the value of following Jesus. It is so important and precious that it is worth giving up everything else or “selling all” to enter Jesus’s new way of life.
As the parables suggest that sometimes, those who are not looking find the treasure; on other occasions, those who have searched long and hard for their life’s dream eventually find it.
The third parable tells us that our decision about following Jesus has serious consequences. God decides who has lived in obedience to the Gospel and who has not. God alone is able to differentiate between individuals.
As Christians, we face daily challenges to choose to live in obedience to Jesus. Sometimes we will fail but then we can seek God’s forgiveness. We can be confident that, while it will certainly not always be easy, living God’s way will always be worth the sacrifice.
Jesus ends this passage by referring to “new and old things”. Jesus insists that he hasn’t come to replace the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets but to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17). So the old treasures of the Law are given fresh meaning in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Who or what are the most precious treasures in your life? Where does Jesus appear on this list?
What difficult decisions have you had to make to be a faithful Christian? What have you surrendered in order to follow Jesus?
How much value do you place on your relationship with Jesus?
Read the verses selected from Psalm 119. Can you echo these as a prayer?
In our reading from 1 Kings 3, Solomon asks God for wisdom. Take time to lay some of the challenges you face before God. Ask for his help and wisdom in dealing with them.
“We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them” (Romans 8: 28, 30).
We face choices every day. What helps you to make these decisions? What part do the Bible and prayer play in your decision-making? How do you decide what God is saying to you personally? Let these words from Romans encourage you in the coming week.
Lectio Divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word