O.T. XVII [A] 1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12; Rom 8:28-30; Mt 13:44-52
Dr. Williamson was a geologist doing some archeological excavation work in Tanzania. One day he found himself driving in a deserted area, slipping and sliding along a rain-soaked road. Suddenly his four-wheel drive vehicle sank up to its axles in the mud and got stuck. Pulling out his shovel, Dr. Williamson began the unpleasant task of digging the car out of a mud hole. He had been at it for a while when his shovel uncovered something strange. It was a pinkish stone of some sort. Being a geologist and naturally curious about rock formations, he picked it up and wiped away the mud. The more mud he removed, the more excited he became, and he could hardly believe what he saw. When the stone was finally clean, Dr. Williamson was beside himself with joy. He had discovered the diamond which became known as the famous Pink Diamond of Tanzania and is now set in the royal scepter of Great Britain. In today’s two parables, Jesus tells of two other men who unexpectedly discovered treasures
In the Gospel, Jesus teaches that God’s Kingdom is something of extraordinary value, like a hidden treasure or costly pearl, and that safeguarding it within us calls for total commitment. The Kingdom of God is God’s reign in our hearts, in our lives, in our homes, in our society, and in our world. 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.
The "Kingdom of Heaven," synonymous in these parables with the "Kingdom of God,” is hidden, but it is of surpassing value. The parable of the pearl (45-46) makes the point that the sacrifice of everything must be made for this one thing of immense value. Those who have not sacrificed everything for it will not have this treasure and will come to know how much they have lost.
The first two parables in today’s Gospel are lessons in the total attachment to Christ and detachment from the things of the world demanded of the disciple to make the reign of God in himself, and in the world, a reality. Frequent battles and foreign invasions encouraged the people of Palestine to bury their treasures like money and jewelry in their fields. For example, the great religious treasure – the “Dead Sea Scrolls,” discovered in the caves at Qumran in 1947 – was hidden there over 2,000 years ago. Sometimes unclaimed and forgotten, the hidden treasures awaited some lucky finder. Jesus tells the story of one such lucky treasure-finder who sold everything he had in order to get ownership of the field. According to the Palestinian laws of that time, the mere finding of buried treasure did not entitle the finder to possession unless he also owned the property in which it was found. In the parable of the treasure in the field and in the parable of the merchant who sought fine pearls, we see the image of one who recognizes the value of the kingdom of God and gives everything to possess it. Matthew, a tax-collector, might have experienced something like this when he discovered the eternal value of the Kingdom preached by Jesus of Nazareth. When he discovered Jesus and his vision of life, everything else became secondary. Having a personal relationship with Christ, that is, making Christ’s view of life one's own, is the most beautiful, the most precious thing in the world. But most of the time, we are chasing false treasures like money, social status and pleasure. Jesus our true treasure may come to lives unexpectedly through some daily experience as he did with Mathew.
Jesus wants us to know that the Kingdom of God is worth all we have. He has come to offer us God's Kingdom, a unique pearl of the greatest price. The genuine disciples are those who respond to this opportunity with joy and selfless commitment, eagerly giving top priority to life in the Kingdom by doing God’s will, whatever it may be. The “treasures” and “pearls” of lasting value are the things of God. They are the love of family and friends, the support of community, and the sense of fulfillment that rises from serving and giving for the sake of others. In order to attain such treasure, we must “sell off” our own interests, ambitions and agendas and thus free ourselves to embrace the lasting values of the compassion, love and mercy of God Who reconciles us to Himself.
when one discovers Jesus and his vision of life, everything else becomes secondary. That is what St. Paul meant when he said: "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8), and again "For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 2:21). To have a personal experience of Christ and personal relationship with Him – in other words, to have made Christ’s view of life one's own – is the most precious thing in the world.
Right now, it is for us to use the time given to us to go in search of the pearl of great price and to help others in their search. We are challenged to search and discern where the Lord is calling us so that we may know what path to take.