Do not let a desire for wealth cause you to become so consumed by your work that you prevent happiness for yourself and your family.

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Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]

July 24, 2011


1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 Romans 8:28-30 Matthew 13:44-52 or Matthew 13:44-46


July 23: Feast of St. Bridget of Sweden

July 31: Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Jesuits


Do not let a desire for wealth cause you to become so consumed by your work that you prevent happiness for yourself and your family.

Thich Nhat Hanh There is more to life than merely increasing its speed.


Our examination of conscience now comes to the life style of all: bishops, priests, religious and lay people. In the case of needy peoples it must be asked whether belonging to the Church places people on a rich island within an ambient of poverty. In societies enjoying a higher level of consumer spending, it must be asked whether our life style exemplifies that sparingness with regard to consumption which we preach to others as necessary in order that so many millions of hungry people throughout the world may be fed.

1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 48 Completing the unfinished business of the American experiment will call for new forms of

cooperation and partnership among those whose daily work is the source of the prosperity and justice of the nation. The United States prides itself on both its competitive sense of initiative and its spirit of teamwork. Today a greater spirit of partnership and teamwork is needed; competition alone will not do the job. It has too many negative consequences for family life, the economically vulnerable, and the environment. Only a renewed commitment by all to the common good can deal creatively with the realities of international interdependence and economic dislocations in the domestic economy. The virtues of good citizenship require a lively sense of participation in the commonwealth and of having obligations as well as rights within it. The nation's economic health depends on strengthening these virtues among all its people, and on the development of

institutional arrangements supportive of these virtues.

US Bishops, Economic Justice for All, #296 All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love to God more readily. … We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.


Page 2 of 5 … when the believer enters into a profound relationship with God, he cannot be content with a mediocre life under the banner of a minimalistic ethic and a superficial religiosity.


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Thoughts for your consideration

The merchant gets excited about finding the perfect pearl. The finder of the lost treasure does everything to buy the field. Solomon desires an understanding heart to govern God’s people well.

What do you get excited about? What do you worry about? What do you desire?

In our culture some people worry about issues of self esteem or personal gratification or sexual fulfillment. In our American culture, some people worry about money and security, especially as the “great recession” continues and as our economy seems be slowing down again.

What do you worry about?

Do you worry about the values of our society that are drifting away from Christian values? Do you worry about all the various examples of violence and war?

Do you worry about the poor or the sick or the elderly or the young? Do you worry about your own financial security?

What do you get excited about?

Do you get excited about the vision and freedom of Jesus Christ? Do you get liberated by the challenging teachings of Jesus Christ? Do you get excited about the social teaching of the church?

Some have referred to Catholic Social Teaching as the Church’s “best kept secret.” I suspect we could call it a “pearl of great price” and a “found treasure.”

What would you ask for if you were Solomon?

Solomon in today’s first reading seems to be free enough not to ask for a long life, or riches, or the life of his enemies. The teachings of Jesus are meant to lead us to this sort of liberation – liberation from greed, selfishness, and violence. They are to be a source of life and liberation for the whole world, especially the poor. The parables of Jesus invite us to focus on what is really most important and not get distracted by all the other desires and confusions.

Today’s parable might remind us of the numerous recent high profile stories of greed in the mortgage business, in the buying and selling of commodities, or in the investment business. People get excited about making money or corporate success or status and they do almost anything to get the results which they want. In the process they forget to focus on the common good.

Today’s parable might remind us of recent “phone hacking” scandal or other behaviors in the press and media. People get excited about getting a news story at any price. People get excited about the latest gossip about the private lives of famous people. People get excited about pushing their political agenda at all costs. In the process they may disregard a real search for the truth or a focus on what is really important or about ethic values.

Today’s parable might remind us of the international policies and values that have led our nation into war and into the misuse of our earth’s resources. In the process we might forget to focus on the common good and those desires that are really most important.


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Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When in your life have you gotten most excited about something? Where did this desire lead you?

How did it affect others?


When in your life have your selfish desires gotten you into trouble? What happened? How did it affect others?

Actions - Links

Truth Deficit: Four myths about government spending by Charles Michael Andres Clark is a recent article in Commonweal that might help one reflect on the political discourse about government spending and the deficits. It can be read at:

“The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) fields the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington, DC. Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL's multi-issue advocacy connects historic Quaker testimonies on peace, equality, simplicity, and truth with peace and social justice issues which the United States government is or should be addressing. FCNL is nonpartisan.”

Sign up to receive their weekly e-mails about what to do about peace and justice issues at

Crazy Facts

For each dollar of federal income tax we pay in 2010, the government spends about: 39¢ in Pentagon spending for current & past wars.

Taxpayers in The United States will pay $122.0 billion for Proposed Afghanistan war spending for FY2011. For the same amount of money, the following could be provided:

62.5 million Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR 1.9 million Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR

2.1 million Firefighters for One Year OR

16.0 million Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR

27.6 million Households with Renewable Electricity - Solar Photovoltaic for One Year OR 73.7 million Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year OR 15.6 million Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year OR 25.1 million People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR 1.8 million Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers for One Year OR

15.5 million Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR 22.0 million Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550



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A Story

Aesop’s fable: The Miser and His Gold

Once upon a time there was a Miser who used to hide his gold at the foot of a tree in his garden; but every week he used to go and dig it up and gloat over his gains. A robber, who had noticed this, went and dug up the gold and decamped with it. When the Miser next came to gloat over his treasures, he found nothing but the empty hole. He tore his hair, and raised such an outcry that all the neighbors came around him, and he told them how he used to come and visit his gold. "Did you ever take any of it out?" asked one of them. "Nay," said he, "I only came to look at it." "Then come again and look at the hole," said a neighbor; "it will do you just as much good." Wealth unused might as well not exist.

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Lord, give us wise and understanding hearts.

Lord, we live in a world with so many different people. We pray…. Lord, we are people with so many varied desires. We pray….

Lord, we are people who can be so filled with worries and fears. We pray…

Lord, we live in a world with some who are very rich and some who are very poor. We pray… Lord, we live in a world distorted by human greed and selfishness. We pray….

Lord, we live in a world with so much misunderstanding and violence. We pray…. Lord, we live in a world with inequality and injustice. We pray….

Prayer - Meditation

Prayer for All of Humanity

I pray for all of humanity to one day feel the pulse of the Mother Earth in their feet as they tread. I pray for mankind to find the faith to believe in the messages carried by their dreams and to see beyond the visible world. I pray that everyone I come in contact with can walk away with much, or at least some, of the happiness that lives within me. I pray for peace, acceptance, and tolerance for all who express their love for the higher power (whatever that name may be). Most of all, I pray for an end to the violence and depravity that darkens many souls. Peace be with us all! Posted at