Sunday’s Gospel reading was taken from the Gospel of Saint Matthew.
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.
Isn’t it amazing how quickly things appear to have changed when we hear about them later. Even in the best historical accounts, hardships are glossed over. It would be impossibly time consuming and wearying to read the minutia of daily struggle, disappointment, and depression, and so facts are relayed with necessary brevity and wounds inflicted appear easily healed.
Jesus does this when speaking of the kingdom of Heaven in these two examples. First, we see a person finding treasure in a field and then selling all he has and then we see a merchant searching for fine pearls and again selling all he has.
In neither example do we hear of the years of hardship or disappointment that led up to the discovery of that treasure or that pearl. In neither do we hear of the ridicule the men faced from friends and family who urged them to just give up.
And yet, each must have had his share of that.
In neither example do we see the men holding tight to a possession or two they valued. It simply says, they sold all they had.
Think of all you have. Some of it would be irreplaceable, even if you were very wealthy. Think of the baby photos, the childhood pictures and handmade cards written in large, shaky handwriting.
Would you easily trade that for a treasure buried in a field? Would you trade it all to buy that pearl of great price?
Or would you stop and think for a moment? Would you let your fingers slowly turn the pages of that baby book? Would you stop to bury yourself in that newborn blanket nuzzling it in the hopes of once more breathing in that indescribable new Baby smell?
What if selling all you have included intangible things?
What if you had to trade in the memories, letting go both happy and sad or hurtful times or experiences? Could you hand them over, trusting them to another? Trusting the newly discovered treasure or pearl to provide instead?
In the Gospel of Matthew, we don’t know what these men did or how they thought as they cashed in all they had to buy their treasures.
Maybe they knew right away, nothing could match their new finds and happily cashed in their old for their new.
I hope they did, but as I look around, and even as I look at myself in the mirror, I know too many of us have heard of the treasures of the Kingdom of God, treasures that are easily accessible to us if only we cash in what we think we own in this world to follow God. We hold onto material things as well as money and jobs, power and respect, and memories both good and bad.
And by doing so, we allow the things of this world to lead us rather than allow the Lord to lead us to His treasures. We risk missing out on the embrace the Lord offers because our arms and our hearts and our minds are too full holding onto things we think we cannot let go of, things which are really more baggage than treasure when we should really let it all go.
- What do you treasure? What is it that you search for?
- Are memories or possessions weighing you down or moving you toward the Lord with a spring in your step?
- Are your memories of possessions worth more than the promised treasure?
- What are you willing to “sell” to move you along your path?