Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dreams and sacrifices
Points to note
This reading completes a series of three parables that Jesus told. For this reading, only the shorter version in the Missal is used. The longer alternative version has further parables.
This reading contains only two parables with the same theme. This one theme can generate many messages: possessions, sacrifices, etc. This reading focuses on the idea of sacrifices. A more positive slant is given by the lead up where we discuss a little more on dreams for which we are willing sacrifice.
Acclamation before the Gospel
I call you friends, says the Lord,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from our Father.
As this parable follows on directly from that last week, you may wish to revisit the parables of the sower and the wheat & the darnel briefly before starting this reading.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with your spirit.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew
All: Glory to you O Lord
Jesus said to the crowds, “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.”
This is the Word of the Lord
What most would you like to do when you grow up? Guide the discussions towards achievements rather than what jobs the children would like to have. These achievements need not be big ones that can only be achieved when the children grow up. It may be something simple like pass the exams or meet Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus (no, they are not my dreams); or something big like fly jet fighters or climb Mount Everest. Take your time to describe the achievements, focussing on the activities themselves, e.g., the act of climbing. Discuss how much the children would like to achieve these ambitions.
Discuss what is required for someone to achieve these achievements. For instance, climbing Mount Everest would require a lot of training in mountain climbing as well as keeping fit. Passing the exams would require a lot of studying. Discuss whether these preparations are easy things to do or not. Some of these efforts require us to give up doing things we enjoy so that we can achieve our dreams. Discuss whether these preparations are worth the effort. This will largely depends on how desperate we are to achieve our dreams.
Discuss the parables and how the persons in the parable are willing to give up everything, i.e., sell everything they own. Link it up with what Jesus is trying to say. What does the treasure and the pearl represent? Salvation from doing God’s work. What does selling everything they owned mean? We give up everything to do God’s work. For instance, a priest may give up cherished ambitions (eg., wealth, family) and become a priest. We give up a lunch or something that we would spend money on to give our Lenten money to the poor.