The Buried Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price-A A +A
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
HOW much value do we attach to reaching heaven? How important to us is the kingdom of God?
Jesus in this Sunday’s gospel (Matthew 13:44-52) teaches us about the supreme importance of heaven. He 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 that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”
Life and all its cares are undoubtedly important. We work hard for our finances, health, education, career, possessions, family life, leisure and general wellbeing. There seems to be no limit to what we need and want.
While there is nothing wrong pursuing legitimate needs, Jesus reminds us in this gospel that what matters most is our eternal destination. We may spend 70, 80, 90, or even 100 years in our earthly life, yet one thing sure is that someday we will leave this world. We will pass from this life to the next, but the difference is that our stay in that next life will no longer be temporary be forever.
Where do we want to spend that eternity? In heaven where there is perfect joy or in hell where there is complete suffering? In the gospel, Jesus challenges us to be wise in making our choice.
To choose heaven is to turn our back to sin. It doesn’t mean, however, that we should renounce the good gifts that our loving Father generously offers, even while in this life. The LORD has given us the secret of being satisfied, saying, “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Yes, God is more than willing to give us the desires of our heart, but we must put him first, and everything else will follow.
This was the message behind the beautiful story recorded in the First Reading (1 Kings 3:5, 7-12). In a dream, God speaks to the new king, Solomon, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered: “O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong”
The Bible continues, “The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request. So God said to him: ‘Because you have asked for this — not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right— I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.’”
The First Reading ends there but do you know what happened next? Going two verses further we see the continuation of God’s words to Solomon, “I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life” (1 Kings 3:13-14). Solomon did not only get what he asked for; he also got a lot of bonuses.
Indeed, what Jesus told us was very true, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). Thus, in his infinite wisdom and love, he never stops attending to the needs of his children. His eyes are always on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer (1 Peter 3:12). And not only that, as the Second Reading declares, “All things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Let us then love God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our soul, and trust that he can never be outdone in loving us.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 24, 2014.