Thomas Griffin (7/26/20)
Matthew 13:1-23 – Sunday Gospel
This passage is all about treasure; Jesus is speaking about what is worth most and what we are willing to do in order to obtain it. “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 that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44). Jesus has, yet another, parable which references everyday life and calls us to see through the divine lens of God’s pursuit for our hearts.
A man is traveling and comes across a vast treasure which he finds buried, returns it to the ground and buys the entire field where it is located. First, why is he digging in the ground of a piece of land which is not his? Something must have sparked his interest in pursuing that specific ground. This man was clearly looking for something; he wanted to be filled up by a reality in the world. We all desire that. However, we often find the replacements to the true answer (money, pleasure, power, honor, esteem of others, etc.)
The Kingdom of God is the main message of Jesus’ preaching. Not, love or prayer or even forgiveness. The topic Jesus speaks about more than any other is the Kingdom, and the reign of God. God’s reign is the most profound treasure we can stumble across. It is not concerned with the Father controlling our every move. It is like a “pearl of great price” (Matthew 13:46).
Both the buried treasure and the pearl are realities that are hidden. Not because God isn’t accessible, but because we need to go looking for him; because love does not force itself on the beloved. The treasure is always there, below the surface, and the pearl is always on the bottom of the ocean, craving to be found. The beauty of the Christian message lies in the fact that God makes the first move towards us, but that he allows us to use our freedom to pursue him in return.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind” (Matthew 13:47). The fishermen pursue a catch and bring in an abundance once they cast their nets towards the divine life. With this image, Christ gives an added detail to the image of the kingdom, and our pursuit of the treasure.
Once the fish are taken from the nets, their will be people who separate the good fish from the bad fish. The healthy ones will be placed into good buckets while the unhealthy fish are thrown away (Matthew 13:48). Jesus turns this parable on its head. The kingdom is not only about looking for treasure, selling everything to have it or like obtaining a pearl or being a pursuer. What we pursue and how we obtain the treasure is tantamount to our health.
God pursues us, more so, than we pursue him. He is constantly on the eternal lookout for our souls; he is on an everlasting fishing journey to scoop us up into his nets. However, there are times when we associate with false treasures, mistake phony pearls for the real thing, cast our nets feverishly towards what is not good for us.
Every single person to ever live worships something. We all have a person, thing or reality that we place on a pedestal and take the stand that this is the most important treasure to pursue. These parables are Jesus’ call to examine what we hold to be most important in our lives. Is it money or our job? Is it a relationship, sports, or material possessions? Is it our free time and ultimate stance that no one can tell me what to do or what is right?
Today, let us take heed to the words of Jesus; let us allow him teaching to penetrate the very core of our existence. Let us dig for the kingdom of God, let us find the pearl of great price, let us cast our nets wide for God’s reign. And sell everything for what is most true.
Then we’ll be truly healthy; then we’ll advance on the journey towards what is most important and we’ll find that he has sold everything, his very life, to be with us.
Thomas Griffin teaches Apologetics in the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife. He received a master’s degree in theology and is currently a master’s candidate in philosophy. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.
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