Bottom line: Jesus reveals the hidden treasure - himself present in the Eucharist. To gain that treasure we have to radically reorder our priorities. We have to risk all.
Last week we heard Jesus say, The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field...Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls..."
This Sunday we see concretely what that treasure is. When the people were hungry, in a deserted place, Jesus took two fish and five loaves, "he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds."
I'm sure that language sounds familiar to you. In the Mass the priest - acting in the person of Christ - takes the bread, blesses, breaks and gives saying: "This is my Body given up for you." The hidden treasure, the pearl of great price, is nothing more and nothing less than Jesus truly present in the Eucharist.
When the coronavirus first started hitting us, many parishes closed their doors. At our parish, however, we did not do that. We kept a careful eye on our church, but we did not close our doors. People recognized that here in Monroe the pearl of great price is Jesus present in the Eucharist. People came to the chapel or in the main body of the church to pray before Jesus.
Some people told me they had gone to other churches and found doors locked. My advice was: If you find doors locked, consider the whole church a tabernacle. Stay in your car in the parking lot and pray facing that dwelling place of Jesus. Jesus in the Eucharist is the pearl of great price.
Jesus wants give you everything, his very self. He wants to heal you. Today we hear that Jesus "saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick." I know there are people who cannot prudently enter our church for Mass. Why not stay in your car and from there visit Jesus? Come any time. Maybe you have a family member who is elderly or has an underlying condition. Why not bring that person to Jesus? Make a parking lot visit to Jesus, the great Physician, the pearl of great price.
Now, I am going to be honest with you. If you want that pearl of great price, there is a cost. Jesus says, "the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."
We have worked hard to make our church safe, to protect our people. Our protocols are working.* We cannot, however, take away all risks. Try as we might, there will be risks, physical and emotional. Some people are afraid that someone will say something or give them a look. I regret when that happens and we are working to make our congregation. Still there will always be a cost.**
Today Jesus reveals the hidden treasure - himself present in the Eucharist. To gain that treasure we have to radically reorder our priorities. We have to risk all. "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Amen.
*Dr Thomas McGovern, a former clinical research physician for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infections Diseases observed "so far we haven't heard of any Catholic Church being (a source of outbreak), which is pretty remarkable, given the breadth of the Catholic Church in the United States."
**As an example of counting the cost, on Sunday afternoon I take a risk when I get in my car to drive 50 miles to visit my brother. I know that each week hundreds are injured, some permanently, and some are killed in traffic accidents. Still, after taking what precaution I can, I accept the risk. because I value time with my brother. Similarly Jesus tells us we have take a risk, in fact risk all, if we are going to obtain the pearl of great price.
From Archives (for Seventeenth Ordinary Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru