Sunday, July 24, 2011

Father Paul Wharton.

Please forgive me dear readers for breaking one of my own suggested rules and posting two items on the same day. You'll soon understand why.

I have "met" recently through the Internet a priest who manages a great website. I urge you to visit him soon. Meanwhile, he has kindly agreed to share with us his homily for this weekend. Hence my posting again today.

Here is what Father Paul Wharton has to say:

July 24th - The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The readings for Sunday’s Mass can be found here:

How do you describe the indescribable?
What can you say about the invisible?   
How can you explain the inexplicable?
The truth is that words aren't good enough, but sometimes words are the best we can do. 
What Jesus found helpful was to tell the stories we call parables.                                                                                        
The parables today give us a glimpse, a taste, a sense
of what was at the heart of Jesus preaching: the kingdom or the reign of God.

When Jesus spoke of the kingdom many people thought
he was going to set up a political kingdom.   Not so!  
Some think today think he was talking about
the place we all want to go when we die. Not so! 
To speak about the "reign of God" 
instead of the "kingdom of God"
helps me to begin to understand
that what Jesus is talking
is found whenever and wherever people put or
at least try to put God first in our lives.            

In today's gospel, Jesus speaks about three ideas to keep in mind.

First, sometimes God can come to us in an unexpected or surprising fashion.
In Jesus' day it was not uncommon to find buried treasure because through the centuries many armies had passed through there.
Hearing of an approaching army, people would hide whatever they could.
Now, according to the law, found treasure belonged to the property owner.
That’s why the man had to sell everything and buy the field. 
So when God surprises us, we have to respond and do something
or the treasure of a genuine relationship with God can never be ours.  
In a word, we are called to REACT!

Second, sometimes we find God
because we are actively searching and seeking for God's presence or help in our lives.
For example, a person in the hell of alcohol or drug addiction cries out in desperation or someone or his or her loved one is diagnosed with cancer turns to God wholeheartedly.
Jesus tell us when we seek God, we must commit ourselves to the search. 
"Half measures avail us nothing." In a word, we are called to COMMIT!

Finally, Jesus wants us to know
it is important to sort the good from the bad. 
The word the Church uses for doing so is discernment. 
We consider something in light of the Bible in general & gospels in particular. 
We find out what the Church has taught and saints have said.
We talk with a spiritual director, a priest, or a knowledgeable person
We pray that God will show us God's will.
In a word, we are called to DISCERN!

Today's first reading tells us that given the choice of anything,
King Solomon asked for wisdom, an understanding heart.
Today's gospel is an invitation to put God first in our lives.
If we react, commit, and discern,        
if we say “YES!”to God,
we will find the greatest treasure of all:                                
a relationship with our great and glorious God.


The choice that God gives King Solomon in today's first reading reminds me of a

A man was talking with God in prayer and asked, "Is it true that for you a thousand years are like a minute?"

God answered, "I suppose you could say that."

"God, is it also true that for you a million dollars is like a penny?"

God replied, "I suppose you could say that."

The man continued, "May I have one of your pennies?"

God laughed as God said, "Yes, in one of my minutes!"

[Father Paul Wharton has been a priest in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (West Virginia) for 29 years.  He has a blog on spirituality entitled “Hearts on Fire” that can be located here:  In it he shares stories, poems, prayers, videos, songs, scriptures, quotations, etc. in the hopes something a viewer reads may kindle his or her heart as happened with the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus.  Hearts on Fire also includes suggested reading – articles and books – as well as some of his own writing and recent homilies he has preached like the one you just read.]


  1. I loved Father Wharton's Homily. React, commit, and discern - definitely words of wisdom for each of us.

    Great joke, too! I'm off to visit his site! Thank you, Victor, and please thank Father for me also. It's always a blessing to read words from our shepherds.

  2. Great homily. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you Mary and Colleen,

    Father Paul Wharton has sent me another contribution for this Blog which I hope to post shortly.

    God bless.

  4. Discernment is such an important lesson to learn. For those of us Type A personalities, we have to slow down and get quiet to do a good job of discerning or else we find ourselves jumping off cliffs without knowing what's at the bottom.