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Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 13/44-52
Catholic Homilies
July 28th, 2002

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Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 13/44-52


Today's selection from Matthew is a collection of parables (or stories) ending with a parable directing the readers to become like the disciples in order to understand the kingdom of heaven. The stories of the treasure and of the pearl, each of which is a symbol of Wisdom in the Hebrew Scriptures, point to the joy a true disciple experiences when s/he discovers the kingdom. The third story of the fisherman's net is an exhortation to avoid evil. The concluding reference to the head of the household invites the reader to listen to the story with the disciples. Like the scribe, the reader must hear the stories, contemplate their meaning and then apply that meaning to situations they encounter in their own lives.

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Once upon a time a couple of years ago a farmer came into his house one night and said to his wife there is a roman soldier buried in the farm next door, right in the south forty that's right next to ours. The wife was terrified. He husband was a nice man and she loved him very much, but he had always been a little weird. A Roman soldier? What would a Roman soldier be doing in a field in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? A Viking? Ok. But not a Roman. He has a Roman uniform, her husband said, Roman armor and even a Roman broad sword. Oh, said his wife, wondering whether she should call a doctor. He's probably worth a lot of money, the man continued. Maybe a million dollars to some museum. A lot of history in that grave. But hasn't his body decayed? Well, it's just a skeleton but I guess our Upper weather kept the armor and the weapons intact. How do you know about this Roman? Well, I just know. I'm thinking maybe I'll ask Jeb next door if he wouldn't sell us the south forty. He doesn't farm it much. You know what Jeb is like. If he finds out you want to buy it, he'll raise the price. Well, maybe I'll get Harry down to the bank to try to buy it for me. With what? Well, with our savings. All of them? Be worth it. Think I'll take a run down to see Harry. Well, the wife tried to stop him, but she couldn't do it. He just bought Jeb's south forty. The day the deal was signed he went out to the south forty and begun to dig. You know what he found? No it wasn't a Roman soldier, it was a centurion, a Roman officer! The farmer sold the grave site and the field around it to a museum down East for five million dollars.

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The farmer sold the grave site and the field around it to a museum down East for five million dollars

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