17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 26, 2020
Sr Phyllis Jaszkowiak
Unexpectedly, a treasure is found, what a happy surprise! Unexpectedly, a pearl of great price is discovered, another happy surprise. It seems, in these parables, that people were just going about their everyday work, and suddenly this treasure, this pearl was discovered. So the people react by selling everything they had to purchase the field with the treasure and to purchase the pearl of great price.
What treasure or pearl have you found in your life, something of such great value, you gave your all to get it? How did you come upon it? Did you recognize it at once, or did it take a while to see its value? Sometimes, to others, it doesn’t look like a treasure or a pearl.
I remember, while working in Welfare in Idaho, a man was caring for his wife, of 60 + years. She was now mostly bedridden. They lived in a very rural part of the state with not many services. Each day the man would get his wife up, dress her, feed her, and take her to their outside toilet when necessary. His son kept trying to get him to move his mom to a nursing home, but he refused. Finally, his son prevailed, and she was moved to a nursing home about 60 or so miles away. She was not happy there, and died within the year after being moved. The husband felt extremely bad that he moved her, and he died soon after she did. She was his treasure and his pearl, and he gave his all to care for her.
Sometimes, after we find our treasure, we get sidetracked by the necessities of life, by what must be done to live. Then, our temptation is just to forget about this treasure and do what must be done. I remember that for about ten years, I worked and lived in community, doing what must be done in the community and in the work I was doing. Then one retreat, the song “There Is A Longing” was sung at one of the prayer times. This brought back the whole fact that my vocation was my treasure. It brought tears to my eyes as I realized again the gift God had given.
Our parish is our communal treasure. We are in the midst of rapid change, due to COVID-19, and the fact that we will have De La Salle here among us. It will call forth, from us, acceptance of change, and an exploration of what that change will mean for us as a community. We have some work to do, and we will see a different facet of our treasure.
Along with that change is the realization of Climate Change and Racism, both of which need our attention and changes from us as to how to move forward. Doing as we have always done in the past is no longer an option. We will need to change in our doing, our thinking, but not in our commitment to our Parish Community.
In the first reading Solomon asked for wisdom and understanding. Both of those gifts God is very willing to give to us. We just need to use them. Our GIFT Sunday, on September 13, is a good chance to explore and gain the wisdom we need to face and eliminate Racism in our parish, our world, and ourselves. The Summer Backyard Retreat, from August 17 to 21, is another chance to gain wisdom from God, to meet the challenges of Climate Change. Be sure to take advantage of both of these offerings.
These two times are ways of seeing and exploring the new facets to our treasure. We find a treasure, and there is always more facets to it than when it first presented itself. It is God’s way of letting us know the treasure is so much more than when it was first discovered.
Let us use the Wisdom and Understanding given us to keep and act on what is valuable to us. Let us use the joy and the energy that gifts from God give us, to help us meet the challenges of our day.
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