1 Kings 3:5,7-12
Solomon pleases God when he asks for a wise and understanding heart to better govern the people.
The law of the Lord is more precious than silver and gold.
Second Gospel Reading
God chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son.
Matthew 13:44-52 (shorter form: Matthew 13:44-46)
Jesus teaches about the Kingdom of Heaven.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today’s Gospel concludes three weeks of readings from the 13th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. Throughout these three weeks we have heard Jesus teaching crowds about the kingdom of heaven, and we have heard Jesus interpret some of his teachings for the disciples. In this week’s Gospel, Jesus offers three more short parables.
The first two parables describe the great value of the kingdom of heaven. In the first parable, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a buried treasure that is worth possessing even if it means giving up everything else. In the second parable, Jesus proposes that the kingdom of heaven is like a pearl of great worth for which one will sell everything else to possess. These parables teach us that we are to place everything we value in the service of the pursuit of the Kingdom of God.
The third parable that Jesus proposes in today’s Gospel is different from the first two, but it is reminiscent of the parable of the sower heard in last week’s Gospel. The kingdom of heaven is compared to fishing with a wide net. After the fish have been collected, the good fish are kept and the bad fish are thrown away; so too, in the final judgment, will the wicked and the righteous be separated.
Today’s Gospel concludes with a curious statement about the scribe who understands the kingdom of heaven. Here a metaphor is offered: this scribe is like the head of a household who “brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” The scribes referred to here are experts of Mosaic law. It is possible that Jesus is here instructing the early Christian community on how to proceed in the interpretation of Jewish law with respect to Jesus’ “new” teaching. Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of heaven does not replace the Jewish tradition; it interprets it in a different light.