Sunday Reflection | Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Saint John's Seminary
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Sunday Reflection | Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 29, 2023

Today our Lord speaks to us about a field with buried treasure in it, and He says this is what the kingdom of heaven is like. What could He possibly mean? Let’s just consider one aspect - the kingdom of heaven, divine life, friendship with God, is something truly extraordinary that is found hidden amidst the ordinary. What could better symbolize ordinary life than the dirt of a field? Plain, flat, boring. But containing treasure. I don’t know if you’ve ever driven through a place like Kansas or Nebraska, but if you have, you know the monotony that comes from just endless cornfields in all directions, all day long.

​Sometimes, life can feel monotonous. You get up, go to work, work all day doing the same things you did the day before, come home, have dinner, have a few hours to relax, go to bed, and do it all again the next day. Wouldn’t it be great if there were buried treasure to uncover within the field of our own lives? The good news of today’s Gospel is that Jesus says yes to that aspiration. He wants to meet us in the midst of our own circumstances, to reveal Himself to us, and to make us a real part of His redemptive mission.

​Various saints are given different insights into the Christian life. One of the saints who had a special insight into how we can find holiness in our ordinary lives was St. Josemaria, who died in 1975 and was canonized in 2002. On October 2, 1928, while Fr. Josemaria was on a retreat, he saw a vision of what God was asking from him. St. Josemaria later said: “I dream –and the dream has come true- of multitudes of God’s children, sanctifying themselves as ordinary citizens, sharing the ambitions and endeavors of their colleagues and friends. I want to shout to them about this divine truth: if you are there in the middle of ordinary life, it doesn’t mean Christ has forgotten you or hasn’t called you. He has invited you to stay among the activities and concerns of the world. He wants you to know that your human vocation, your profession, your talents, are not omitted from his divine plans. He has sanctified them and made them a most acceptable offering to his Father.”

​So how do we go about making our ordinary work into something that is holy and filled with divine grace? Again, St. Josemaria speaks to us. He writes, “Rest assured that it is not difficult to convert work into a prayerful dialogue. As soon as you offer it up and then set to work, God is already listening and giving encouragement. We acquire the style of contemplative souls, in the midst of our daily work! Because we become certain that he is watching us, while he asks us to conquer ourselves anew: a little sacrifice here, a smile there for someone who bothers us, beginning the least pleasant but most urgent job first, carefulness in little details of order, perseverance in the fulfillment of our duty when it would be so easy to abandon it, not leaving for tomorrow what should be finished today: and all this, to please him, Our Father God! On your desk or in some inconspicuous place that nobody notices, you perhaps place your crucifix to awaken in you a contemplative spirit and to act as a textbook for your mind and soul where you learn the lessons of service.”

​This week, as we come together to offer the eucharistic sacrifice, we ask God for new eyes, to see Him at work in the midst of the ordinary, to find the treasure of the kingdom hidden in daily life, and to serve Him faithfully as His beloved sons and daughters.

Rev. Peter Stamm

Boston College, B.A., 2008

St. John’s Seminary, M.Div., 2015

I graduated from St. John's in 2015, and it's a real pleasure to return to the seminary
now as a member of the formation faculty. I spent the past five years at St. Joseph Parish in
Needham, MA, first as parochial vicar and then as administrator. This year I am teaching
Elementary Latin II, Introduction to Sacred Liturgy, and the Mass Practicum.

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