July 28: Images of the Kingdom

Jesus said to His disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” Matthew 13, 44-46

In both of these parables, people find something of high value, one a box of treasure and the other a priceless pearl. How they make these discoveries is quite different. One finds treasure purely by accident, while not looking for anything in particular. He was working for wages, digging in someone else’s field perhaps, and the last thing he expected to find was a trunk of buried treasure. In the other case, the merchant was actively searching for fine pearls and, eventually, as a result of persistent searching, found one pearl of great value which stood out from all the rest. If we apply this this latter case to ourselves, we can be looking for real meaning in life, for example, and we can try many things, with only partial satisfaction. Then, we come across the Gospel of Jesus and we know that there is the answer we have been looking for.

Both of these parables in verses 44-46 are images of the Kingdom of God. Both suggest that our relationship with God is greater than any earthly treasure. Both suggest that true treasure comes to us as a grace. Either way, we can be surprised by God’s initiative, hidden beneath the surface of our lives. Aren’t there, indeed, times when grace breaks through to us when we are least expecting it? Aren’t there also times when we  seek and find; when we knock and the door is opened?

We can be, and we will be, surprised by grace, but we are also called to seek the Kingdom with all our heart and soul. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6,21

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