July 23, 2023
The most 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.”
We all have personal treasure that we hold dear to our hearts. But indeed, treasured possessions
are a dangerous thing. 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 many things; God saves us, though, from being possessed and held prisoner by all those
things needed to go about our daily lives. God saved 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 and 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.
In the First Book of Kings, 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, 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).
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
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
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. There is also a 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 ultimate happiness.
This pursuit of the eternal treasure as told in the three parables is what life is all about. 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 is to sell everything that is 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 for 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.