Thursday, July 21, 2011

Choose This Over Others

Seventeenth Ordinary Sunday Year A

I want you to imagine that your house is burning down? There is no time to save everything. You have only enough time to make one trip and you can only take 5 items with you. What would you try to save? I will give you 2 minutes to think about it. Now what are the things that you would most likely try to save? I believe that many of you will go for your identity cards. If you have been preparing an assignment for your school exam, maybe, that’s the item you will try to save. Some of you will try to save as much cash and jewelry as possible. Others may try to save their pet dog. Did you think of saving anyone – another member of your family? No? How about the others, are things more important than people?

Of course, this is all imaginary. However, it is only when we are confronted with a situation like this – a situation of urgency – when we are confronted with a series of choices – to choose this over another, that we will come to realize the things that we really value in life. The things that you have chosen to save from the fire are most likely the things which you value the most. Faced with a choice, you are prepared to choose these over others. You are prepared to sacrifice your other possessions in order to save these.

Today, Jesus tells us in the gospel that the most valuable object for us is not a simple object, it is not money, it is not your most valuable possession, it is not your university degree, it is not even your loved one. No, the most valuable thing for each of us is the kingdom of heaven. Jesus gives us this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.”

Nothing in our lives, absolutely nothing can compare with the value of the kingdom of God. And what is the kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven? The kingdom of God is not a place or a thing. The kingdom of heaven describes that perfect relationship where man is united with God and with one another. The kingdom of God materializes when we do the will of God. Jesus is telling us that there is nothing more valuable than this relationship.

Solomon came to realize this truth. God honoured Solomon by allowing him to choose the gift which God would bestow on Solomon: “Ask what you would like me to give you?” If we are given such are choice by God, what would we choose? Happiness for the rest of our lives; riches; a good husband or a good wife; the best results in exams; power and honour; long life. Well, Solomon chose none of these. He chose wisdom to understand the will of God. To know and do the will of God sums up the meaning of the kingdom of heaven. To know what God wants of us is the only thing that matters.

Certainly in life, property, money and human relationships are important. But do these things control our lives? Are these our gods and idols? One thing for certain. We cannot bring any of these things with us to that life after death.

Let us not wait till the very last. Let us not face death with regrets of having mistaken the less valuable things in life for those things that really matter. Let us now start saving up in order to buy that treasure in the field, that pearl of great value, the kingdom of heaven. Let us place God as our highest value and first priority.

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