Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for July 27, 2014
Just like last week, today’s gospel includes three parables about the kingdom of heaven. But today’s parables differ because each of them are told from the viewpoint of individuals who recognize that they have found or collected something that is worth far more than they could have ever imagined or hoped for. So they will spend the time, cost, and effort necessary to secure it for themselves.
“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.” (Matthew 13:44) “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 as and buys it. (Matthew 13:45-46) The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets.” (Matthew 13:47-48)
Often there are many other things in our lives that are higher on our to-do list than the kingdom of heaven and our faith. Our priorities are not what they need to be. Going to Mass and spending time in prayer take a backseat to our chores and activities. Sometimes we only consider our relationship with God if we have a few extra moments to spare or if there is a special need or intention that we have.
But today Jesus is giving us a reminder of just how truly important the kingdom of heaven is and he is asking us to refocus and to give our faith and relationship with God the priority that it must have. He wants us to reflect on the amazing gift of the kingdom of heaven, to focus on eternal life and not on the earthly life that fades and passes away. We need to recognize the kingdom of heaven as the great treasure, the pearl of great price, and the huge catch of fish that it is, certainly greater than anything we have ever imagined and worth more than anything else on our to-do list or our priorities in life.
May we see the kingdom of heaven as worth far more than anything we can ever imagine, greater than anything else that we can hope to gain in this life, so that we will spend the time and effort necessary to secure it for ourselves.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. Do I recognize the kingdom of heaven as the gift of God that it truly is?
2. Do I spend the time and effort to secure the kingdom of heaven?