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Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jer. 15:10, 16-21 & Mt. 13:44-46

Jeremiah had a difficult and frustrating mission in trying to call the people of his time to repentance. He could have identified with our modern expression about banging your head against a brick wall! Nor did Jeremiah hesitate to complain to God: he felt abandoned having been given his mission - and he let Him know how he felt.

Through all this God remained serene. He told Jeremiah that He must repent of this unworthy rebellion and then renewed His promises of help, promising that He would give Jeremiah strength to withstand opposition. Jeremiah might have thought of the people as a brick wall but God said, "I will make you a bronze wall fortified against this people."

As time went on things got no better for Jeremiah. He failed to see the value of remaining faithful to God which was like a treasure hidden in a field. But eventually his view changed. The treasure was no longer hidden and he realised that any sacrifice was worth remaining loyal to God.

Most of us are not called to condemn an evil generation and urge it to repent. But we do meet with opposition to our faith all the time. That opposition may come from people who think that our faith is foolish or even an enemy to a modern society bent on self-destruction through abortion, euthanasia, drug abuse and the pursuit of pleasure as a god.

Sometimes opposition may come from within us because of our discouragement, our frustration or our laziness. But we should never forget that God says to us what He said to Jeremiah, "I will make you a bronze wall fortified against this people." Our strength lies not in ourselves but in God. It was a lesson Jeremiah had to learn and it is a lesson by which we must live.

The words of Jesus in the Gospel today, about the kingdom of Heaven, can rightly be applied to God Himself - God is the treasure so precious that no sacrifice is too great to make in order to enter into His presence and enjoy such treasure. God is also the pearl so beautiful that we should gladly leave behind all other attractions so that we may be absorbed by His splendour.

Heaven is there waiting for us. While we live in this vale of tears, there should be in our hearts a deep longing to be with God forever, and a desire to take along to Heaven all we love and meet. We should go about our ordinary daily duties with a glow, if not on our faces, then in our hearts. Just as Moses met the Lord, we meet Him whenever we receive Him in Holy Communion. His Holy Spirit's glow of love, joy and peace is there waiting for us to let it burst out, and set alight with happiness and brightness the world around us. This glow is the reflection of our faith that our God is a God of beauty and wonder, our treasure and our joy.

Heavenly Father, You are our treasure and You long for each one of us to be with You in Heaven, aglow with Your light and beauty. May our lives on this Earth, through our love and good works, radiate Your beauty to the people we meet and lead us to a life with You in Heaven for ever.

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