The Precious Treasure/
1 Kings 3. 5 – 12. Psalm: 119. 57, 72, 76 – 77, 127 – 128, 129 – 130. Romans 8. 28 – 30.
Gospel: Matthew 13. 44 – 52
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus spoke to the crowds: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden a field, which
someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one
pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Again, the kingdom of
heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was
full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So
it will be at the end of the age. The Angles will come out and separate the evil from the
righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing
of teeth. Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them,
“Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master
of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Some years back, the Associated Press reported the story of an elderly woman in Zurich,
Switzerland who became virtually invisible to the most sophisticated surveillance equipment. The
“An 85-year old woman was found in the vault of a Swiss bank when she set off motion detectors
hours after the bank was already closed. Employees at the bank apparently forgot about the
woman. The director of the bank’s safe allowed the woman into the vault before closing it
punctually at 4:30 PM with the woman still deep in study of her documents. She remained so still
that she initially failed to activate either the motion detector or the attached camera. She was freed
from the room four hours after the vault was closed.”
Entombed with a treasure, that’s what she was! And while no harm came to the woman, the story
of her imprisonment within a bank vault full of loot does cause us to reflect on our relationship to
our own material treasure, whatever it may be. While few of us possess the wealth of a Swiss
bank vault, we all have personal treasures that we hold fast to our hearts. And while there’s surely
nothing wrong with that, we do risk finding ourselves in the same position as that 85- year old
woman, locked away with our treasure in a suffocating vault. Indeed, treasured possessions are
dangerous things, they have the potential to kill.
It seems to me that the particular challenge of us is to possess without being possessed. We live
and work in a culture ever more reliant on those things that enable us to move from day to day,
from here to there, from one task to another. Realistically, one cannot live today without what, in
a former day, were thought superfluous but today are simply essential. We possess lots of stuff.
God save us, though, from being possessed, held prisoner by all those things that make life work.
God save us from being entombed by our treasures.
We live in a world full of wants, desires and undue expectations. There is a crazy, restless and
desperate search for riches, name, fame, comfort, pleasure….Nothing seems to quench the thirst
for amassing wealth. ‘More and more’ is the slogan that drives people today. In contrast to this,
we have a beautiful lesson to learn from today’s first reading.
The Lord appeared to young Solomon in a dream and told him, “Ask something of Me and I will
give it to you.” Solomon asked for wisdom to govern his people, the gift of discernment and an
understanding heart. The Lord was very pleased with the request of Solomon and graciously
granted it to him.
God was particularly pleased with Solomon because he did not ask for long life, riches or the lives
of his enemies but for understanding to know what is right and wrong. The grace bestowed on
Solomon was meant to help him continue the Lord’s work in an effective manner. He was
enabled to rule wisely, to establish a kingdom of peace and justice.
In the gospel passage we hear today, Jesus invites us to dig for treasure, to look beyond those
many things that make life comfortable, to discover our truest treasure. “Jesus said, ‘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 he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13: 44).
While heaven is something to which we can only now aspire, so it is with the recognition of true
treasure. Because we are frail mortals, our vision is imperfect, and what may seem a treasure is
really just glittering bauble. True treasure, as Jesus reminds us, is often right at our feet, buried
under the ordinariness of our daily lives. Yet we continue to look far and wide for that which is
so very near!
Coming to the Gospel, Jesus tells us the parables of the kingdom of God. In the first of the three
parables, Jesus compares the kingdom of God. In the first of the three parables, Jesus compares
the kingdom of God to a buried treasure. A treasure is found merely by luck. The one who finds
the treasure sells all that he/she has to purchase the field where it is buried. Symbolically, this
implies that becoming a member of the kingdom of heaven is a sheer gift of the Lord. He decides
who will receive the treasure. The treasure is given not just for one person’s benefit, but the
recipient has to share it with others so that the kingdom can grow. There must be total detachment
from all that one has in order to attach oneself to the kingdom and to its values.
Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a merchant searching for the finest pearl. The search
will be over only when the best pearl is found. When the merchant finds the finest pearl, he sells
all he has to possess it. He does not hesitate to sell and do away with all he has in order to own
that prized possession. The kingdom of God is not a mere substitute for something, nor is it one
among other possessions. It is the finest possession – that gives life – and it is worth spending and
selling all that one has, because it is the only real possession that will give us eternal joy.
Jesus compares the kingdom to a net cast into the sea. When the net is drawn back, the fishermen
pick and choose what they think will be useful and the rest is thrown back into the sea. Jesus says
it will be like that at the end of time. He will pick those who kept His word and lived accordingly,
and those who did not will be thrown away.
Early Christians like St. Paul and St. Luke proclaimed Christ as the personification of the
kingdom. According to St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great, they identified the Kingdom of
God with the Church; that the Church is the Kingdom or else. But our modern understanding of
God’s Kingdom is this: It is God’s reign here on earth whereby He brings humanity and the world
the blessings of salvation. It is the total liberation of mankind involving all dimensions of man
(socio – cultural, religious, economical, political and ecological). Is mankind’s final destiny
where God shall be all in all, where peace, love, truth and justice reside? It is God’s eternal rule
where love reigns the supreme dominion of the Father over all things and mankind’s complete
In the second reading, Paul writes, ‘we know that all things work for good for those who love
God.’ That means if we possess God as everything in our life, then all things that happen to us,
even if they seem bad, they will turn to be good to us.
People who are the disciples of Jesus are prudent and smart people as King Solomon. They try to
be wise and very picky about their choices. They want that one thing, not to be short lived or
short experienced. They keep their goal to be eternal, forever, and it must stay with them even
after their death. They prefer God to his creation, the Giver to the gifts, the whole of its part, the
creator to his creatures. Jesus tells us to be obsessed and impudent not only when we are in
pursuit of the treasure, but also in possessing it once we got it. Look at the men in the parables.
Even though they discovered the treasure and the precious pearl in different ways, both are
obsessed in their pursuit. In the third parable Jesus extends this obsession further an tells us to be
closely adhered to the treasure we got, till our end of life for the eternal reward. He wants us to
connect this world pursuit to the other world. Mere fluctuation, flirting, wavering, irresolute,
vacillating, will do no good in life pursuit of this treasure hunt. It needs strong will and smartness
with certain prudence, faith, trust, madness, blindness, deafness, dumbness.
Inside every successful treasure hunter there is this mania or passion on what they were aiming,
what they esteem as their treasure. This pursuit of the eternal treasure is what life is all about. It
is indeed a very risky business. God wants us today to take the risk in possessing Him as our one
and only treasure. The eternal invitation of the Gospel of Jesus to sell everything that are
temporary, material, earthly and physical in order to achieve God the giver of gifts as the greatest
valuable treasure of our life. Most of us are afraid to respond to this Gospel’s invitation; many of
us like to wait until all our material possessions are dwindled and shrunk. Some of us play the
game of in an out, in this treasure hunt. Very few among us like Solomon, like Jesus, Mary and
many other saints, wholeheartedly submit our entire possession, the talents, the treasure of eternal
life. Let us join with those few wise disciples of Jesus.
If you ask me what is my own definition of the Kingdom of God, I borrowed this from the
teachings of the Church. It is to accept and to do God’s will. Whatever and wherever we find the
promotion of the values, of God’s kingdom truth, justice, love and peace. If these values rule
people’s lives, it means that God’s Kingdom is reigning in their hearts, in their community or
society. But try to look at around us, can we say that God’s Kingdom reigns in the hearts and
minds of people? We can say ‘No.’ It is because there are so many people who are hungry for
power, for prestige for wealth and for security.
How to realize this Kingdom into our lives? For me it is simple. Show your resources or your 3
Ts (Time, Talent and Treasure). Give to the needy, Love more simply, Visit the imprisoned, offer
hospitality, visit the sick, support the bereaved, admonish the sinner, spread the good news of the
Kingdom of God, counsel the doubtful, comfort the lonely, bear wrongs patiently, forgive all
injuries, free your heart from hatred, free your mind from worry, live simply, expect less, give
more and pray for the living and the dead. These are very simple, very practical. They are not
impossible to do and let us joyfully do them.
Jesus allows everyone to come to the net, but many choose not to, not because of Jesus’
unwillingness or partiality, but because they prefer to follow their own path, and they reject Jesus
and His kingdom. These are busy building their own kingdom to gain immediate and
instantaneous riches, name, and fame for themselves.
The three parables describe three different ways in which people find the kingdom – by chance,
by diligent search and by careful discernment. No matter which way one finds it, what is
important and necessary is the wisdom to recognize the surpassing worth of the kingdom and be
part of it.
This day Jesus bids us look deep into the ordinariness of our lives for the truest treasure. He
invites our vision toward the very dust beneath our feet, where, with some kicking and scraping,
we might discover what’s been there all along – faith anchor for our earthly life and the promise
of heavenly life in a day to come.
A truthful way to find out what you are searching in life is to write your own epitaph.