When you discover the Kingdom of God, like hidden treasure, you have sparks of joy in you. Consequently, you make new choices in life to the point of leaving behind certain things in preference for the newly discovered treasure. But the question is: what’s your treasure? And how has that influenced your latter choices?
Bible Readings 1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12 Psalm 119: 57, 72, 76-77, 127-130 Romans 8: 28-30 Matthew 13:44-52
Kingdom of God as discovered treasure
This Sunday’s Gospel presents us with three parables which talk about the joy of discovering the Kingdom of God and how that leads to drastic choices.
In the first parable a man finds a hidden treasure in the field. Without hesitating he goes straight to sell all that he has in order to buy the field. Similarly, in the second parable, when a man finds the fine pearls he has been looking for, he’s ready to part with all he has in order to obtain them. As for the third parable, we have a net full of fish but not all of it is kept. There’s a selection.
A Christian by tradition or as Eureka?
These parables, speaking about the way we welcome the Kingdom of God in our lives, invite us to reflect on the manner we live our Christian faith? There could be several ways, I think of two: a Christian by routine or by eureka. Let’s see what these mean.
I may be a practising Christian, even committed, but merely as habitual practice. I’m born in a Christian family and grow up in an environment where everyone is expected to go to church. So I develop such good habitude, and become even a strong defender of such tradition yet I lack the intimacy and the excitement of having discovered something precious.
For others, being a Christian can be a real Eureka –I found it! I got it! Becoming a Christian is a fruit of posing questions and of searching for answers. When they embrace the Christian faith it’s pure excitement. Their life won’t be merely conforming to what everyone does but will have something personal thanks to their encounter with the person of Jesus. There’s one image that comes to mind.
Perhaps, the image of finding a treasure in a field or the pearls may sound distant to us. Why not talk about falling in love! The French talk about the coup de foudre (kind of lightning) meaning: when you meet a person and it’s like all of a sudden your search is over –you just feel like you have found the man or the woman of your heart. It isn’t just some cheap sentimental love at first sight but a genuine discovery of love that changes your life. That’s why these parables evoke in me the image of the woman in the Song of Songs. She gallops through streets in search of the man she loves –that’s her treasure. Do you live your faith with similar excitement?
Choosing as sign of Eureka
Once you find what you have been looking for, your life changes. If you claim to have found your treasure and yet you continue living as though you are still searching; it’s a sign enough to show that you haven’t got your treasure yet. Choosing is indispensable in order to be able to settle and to lead a mature life.
Life, like the net cast into the sea, offers plenty of opportunities. But you can’t embrace them all. Time should come when you separate and choose, clarifying for ourselves what you would like to keep as valuable –something that gives meaning in your life. Choosing doesn’t necessarily mean what you leave is bad; it’s a question of priorities.
Admittedly, nevertheless, choosing remains a challenge to some of us. Yet, it’s necessary if we want to focus our energy and our attention otherwise we risk going through life like perpetual adolescents. Of course, there’s nothing wrong for an adolescent to be adolescent: he wants to try things –that’s good for him. Yet, it may not be health to remain adolescent for life. I guess, no one wants to squander lunch break just studying the menu. Finally, you should choose your dish, order it and enjoy the meal.
Discerning the treasure
It’s not enough to have priorities neither is it enough to choose. You can make wrong choices and you can have inverted priorities. In a way, every person has priorities, but do they have them right? That’s why discernment becomes important. By discernment we come to discover what’s really valuable, and what’s not, so that we pick what is good and helpful to us.
The fisherman who got his net full of fish, without good discernment, risks hauling the good fish back into the water and going home with what’s less valuable. The First reading gives us some inspiration in this regard.
Solomon is famous for wisdom. But his wisdom, in what does it consist? Personally, I don’t place it in the wise decisions or judgments he may have made but rather in his humility. “O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in… Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil.”
Wise people often are those who are humble enough to ask for guidance, those who listen because they realise and admit that they don’t know everything. They make wise decisions because they consult and listen to others. These days such wisdom is escaping us. Why? Simply because, for many, what’s right is what I want and because I’m free –I go for it.
Where are you today?
Welcoming the Kingdom in our lives can be an exciting experience. However that demands choosing and committing ourselves to what we have chosen. We need to humble ourselves like Solomon and ask for the gift of wisdom that will enable us to make right choices.
But, do you know what your treasure is? And what have you given up following the discovery of that treasure? Or you are still torn apart because you want to have all fish in the net?
Well, seek first the Kingdom of God, and the rest will be given to you.
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