FIRST READING

A reading from the First Book of Kings 3:5. 7-12

You have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask.

At Gibeon the Lord appeared in a dream to Solomon during the night. God said, ‘Ask what you would like

me to give you’. Now, the Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father.

But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of

yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your

servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of

yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked

for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but

have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise

and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 118

Response Lord how I love your law!

1. My part, I have resolved, O Lord,

is to obey your word.

The law from your mouth means more to me.

than silver and gold. Response

2. Let your love be ready to console me

by your promise to your servant.

Let your love come to me and I shall live

for your law is my delight. Response

3. That is why I love your commands

more than finest gold.

That is why I rule my life by your precepts:

I hate false ways. Response

4. Your will is wonderful indeed;

therefore I obey it.

The unfolding of your word gives light

and teaches the simple. Response

SECOND READING

A reading from the first letter of St Paul to Romans 8:28-30

God intended to become true images of his Son.

We know that by turning everything to their good God co-operates with all those who love him, with all

those that he has, called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and

intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called

those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.

The Word of the Lord.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Jn 15: 15

Alleluia, alleluia!

I call you friends, says the Lord,

because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.

Alleluia!

GOSPEL

A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew 13:44-52

He sells everything he owns and buys it.

‘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.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value

he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is

full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw

away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate

the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding

of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes’. And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes

a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both

new and old’.

The Gospel of the Lord.

REFLECTION:

The Authentic Article.

In these parables the men appreciate the true value of what they have discovered and are willing to pay the

cost of everything they have for the new treasure. To outsiders looking at them, the two men might appear

totally unhinged in risking everything on this one venture. But both are certain about wisdom of what they

must do; for them, the folly would be in passing over the main chance. In the parables Jesus is asking the

crowds if they perceive the kingdom of God in the same way: do they really see it as a treasure that is worth

more than everything they now value in life? If the kingdom of God is not perceived as the authentic article,

people will not bother renouncing anything to attain it.

Jesus’ own perception of life differed sharply from so many people’s. He was constantly challenging people to

see and see again in order to understand anew. To that purpose his stories turned much of popular wisdom on

its head, and this was done in the hope that his listeners might catch something of another way of living in

God’s world, in effect Jesus had what Solomon prayed for – a heart to discern the ways of the people and the

ways of God. But more than this, Jesus had the determination to close the gap between the two ways.

We know that Jesus had to give up everything he valued – his family, his home, his security – to do his Father’s

will and preach the kingdom of God. For Jesus there was no treasure greater than his Father’s will: when he

uncovered what it was, he renounced everything to make it his own. His own family and neighbours thought his

ways either puzzling or foolish; and when he gave up his own life, even his disciples could not understand this

ultimate folly. But there was a purpose to it; even in death Jesus kept hold of his treasure.

None of us can gain anything of value without renouncing something. Perhaps what we have to renounce first

is our perception of what real treasure in this life really is. Few of us will chance on the crock of gold at the end

of the rainbow, or win a lottery, or stumble on an oilfield in the backyard. But we have all stumbled on treasure.

Like the twio Beduoin shepherd boys, we may have problems appreciating our find wrapped in the ordinary

stuff of life. The real treasure of life is under our noses- in the people we share life with, in the opportunities we

face every day to exercise the values of Jesus. None of this might appear a glittering prize, but it is in the heart

of the ordinary that we discover the presence of Jesus. He is the authentic article. He is hidden in the

commonplace, hoping that we’ll stumble on that truth before long