XVII.O.T. 1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12; Rom 8:28-30; Mt 13:44-52
There is a story from the Desert Fathers about a young monk who asked one of the old men of the desert why it is that so many people came out to the desert to seek God and yet most of them gave up after a short time and returned to their lives in the city.
The old monk told him, "Last evening my dog saw a rabbit running for cover among the bushes of the desert and he began to chase the rabbit, barking loudly. Soon other dogs joined in the chase, barking and running. They ran a great distance and alerted many other dogs. Soon the wilderness was echoing the sounds of their pursuit but the chase went on into the night.
After a little while, many of the dogs grew tired and dropped out. A few chased the rabbit until the night was nearly spent. By morning, only my dog continued the hunt. "Do you understand," the old man said, "what I have told you?"
"No," replied the young monk, "please tell me father."
"It is simple," said the desert father, "my dog saw the rabbit."
In the Gospel, Jesus teaches that God’s Kingdom is something of extraordinary value, like a hidden treasure or costly pearl, and that its possession calls for total commitment. Only those who develop a searching mind and are willing to give up everything for the great treasure of God’s Kingdom will be rewarded. Through the first and second parables of the treasure and pearl Jesus teaches us identifying God’s will with His help and living according to the Gospel are the most precious and worthwhile things in life. Through Jesus and his Gospel we come to know and understand what the real meaning of life is and what are the most important things in life which would secure our eternal salvation.
Getting to know Christ and experiencing his grace is a lifetime adventure."The kingdom of God within us is a treasure indeed, but a treasure hid from the world, and from the most wise and prudent in it. He that finds this treasure, (perhaps when he thought it far from him,) hides it deep in his heart, and gives up all other happiness for it."
Stories of hidden treasure have been very common from the ancient times. In times of war, enemy soldiers were always on the lookout for treasures to plunder. Hence, at the enemy’s approach, people would bury their treasure hoping to recover them once peace returned. But, often the owner would die, carrying to the tomb the secret of the place where the treasure had been hidden.
The man in this parable stumbled upon the treasure unexpectedly, but he did so when he was going about his daily business. So, Jesus tells His hearers that the Kingdom of God is to be found while doing the daily routine of our life with efficiency and diligence.
True happiness, true satisfaction, the sense of God, the presence of the Kingdom of God are all to be found in the day’s work, when the day’s work is honestly and conscientiously done.
The second lesson of this parable is that it is worthy of any sacrifice to enter the kingdom. The relationship with Jesus is our treasure and pearl; it alone can give us the joy and satisfaction we yearn for in the depths of our hearts.
A rich young man asked Jesus, “What must I do to possess eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Go sell what you have, give the money to the poor, and come follow me.” The young man went away sad because he was very wealthy. The sadness of Jesus must have been even greater. There is no account in the gospels of the subsequent career of the rich young man; he is never mentioned again. Not being open to the gift, he got only what he paid for. Jesus said about the rich, “they have had their reward.” The “pearl of great price” is there within our grasp, it is being held out to us free of charge. It is free, but to take it we have to have empty hands.
Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to show us the pearl of great price, Jesus Christ, and help us to sell everything we have to obtain that price of everlasting value.