"Breaking Open the Word" :
James Cavanagh is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. His weekly column, "Breaking Open the Word," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Click here to visit the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Denver.
July 24: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In this week’s first reading King Solomon demonstrates his wisdom by looking to God for guidance at the beginning of his reign. He didn’t seek the things most people want: health, wealth and power. Solomon asked for something much more valuable: the ability to distinguish right from wrong.
The second reading is about trust in divine providence. In the previous chapter, St. Paul dealt with the problem of sin and the conflict between good and evil. In chapter eight he resolves the problem by describing life in the Spirit. Only those who are in Christ are able to overcome the struggle against sin and find peace. To “know that in everything God works for good with those who love him” is not just another way of saying that “everything’s going to be OK.” It’s the assurance of God’s goodness based on the knowledge of what he has done in Christ.
This week’s Gospel includes three parables: a treasure hidden in a field, the pearl of great price and a net thrown into the sea. What they all have in common is that the kingdom of God is priceless and that the truly wise person, like Solomon, seeks it finds it and chooses it. The pearl of great price and the hidden treasure is none other than Christ himself. Those who have searched for and found Christ have found a treasure surpassing all othe
Key verse: “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart … to distinguish right from wrong.” (1 Kings 3:9)
Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to ‘know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.’ For those who stay ‘outside,’ everything remains enigmatic” (No. 546).
Pope Benedict XVI: “Some today argue that respect for freedom of the individual makes it wrong to seek truth, including the truth about what is good. In some circles to speak of truth is seen as controversial or divisive, and consequently best kept in the private sphere. Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ” (Meeting with young people and seminarians, April 19, 2008).
Life application: There are countless books, seminars and CDs that teach business leaders and others how to be “highly effective.” This week’s readings remind us that the truly wise person looks to God for truth and guidance. A wise leader is not just effective, he or she is good. And a good leader is not just someone who does things right; a good leader does the right things right. In this day and age, the most precious thing we can give our children is the knowledge of Christ and the ability to distinguish right from wrong.
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. Cavanagh’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register.
Read Today's Scriptures online
Archives: "Breaking Open the Word"
For an affordable cost, you, too, can publish Breaking Open the Word in your newspaper, bulletin or journal.
For more information, contact Roxanne King, editor of the Denver Catholic Register, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 303-715-3215.