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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, July 30, 2023, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Sometimes when I am scrolling through the PBS channel I come across Antiques Roadshow. I find it fascinating. People bring in a painting they picked up at a thrift store or a brooch that has been passed down in the family and ask an expert what it's worth.

Often they are pleasantly surprised. The antiques expert tells them their item is worth much more than they thought. Other times they hear, "I'm sure it has a great deal of sentimental value.” I think that's code for "Don't plan to send your kids to college on this!

Two thoughts come to mind.

First, like the pearl merchant in today's gospel, these experts are highly trained in a particular subject… 15th century furniture or pottery of the Ming dynasty. They have spent years learning what is valuable in their area of expertise. They know what is genuine and what is fake. They can spot real value when they see it.

Second, value is always expressed in monetary terms. How much would this item sell for at auction? For how much should it be insured?

But think about the most valuable parts of our lives… health, meaningful work, loving relationships, our faith community with its scripture and sacrament.…. How often do we stop and look at those gifts with the discerning and appreciative eye of the antique dealers? How often do we stop and recognize everything we have been given for the invaluable blessings they are, blessings that cannot be quantified in monetary terms?

The merchant who discovers the valuable pearl in today's gospel is willing to give everything else he has in exchange for it because he recognizes its consummate value. In our lives that have been blessed by God in so many ways, it is good to stop

and give thanks for all we have been given, remembering that at the top of that list is God’s word… that we are immeasurably, eternally, unconditionally loved by God.

And that is… Priceless.

by: Pat Schnee

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