Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.”
Good News Reflection: Finding hidden treasures
Like the author of today’s first reading, we believe that God’s Word brings us joy, but when we’re in the middle of problems that were caused by our sins and we don’t know how to undo the damage, or when shame cripples us, we feel unhappily crushed by the truth. We feel stricken down by the weight of the burden.
Furthermore, if we wrestle with the truth, the burden weighs even more heavily, and the problems themselves crush us. We cry, “Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?”
God answers: “If you repent, I will restore you …. If you bring forth only what is precious and not the vile ….”
We lose our joy when God’s instructions are contrary to our self-centered, worldly (and therefore vile) ideas of what is right and good for us. We turn away from him and then wonder why we feel alone. When someone hurts us, we justify our anger and, in our lack of forgiveness, we complain that God is not helping us.
The pearl in today’s Gospel reading can be any truth. Although it’s always precious, if we don’t see the pearl’s value (because we prefer a sinful alternative), we toss it aside as worthless. To discover the beauty of any truth that we dislike, we need to humbly open ourselves to a new perspective.
I learned this from my son when he was four. David thought he’d found the jackpot of all treasure caches when we came upon a clearance table in the local toy store. I told David he could buy anything priced under $2. With as much careful decision-making as a tot could muster, he began rummaging and examining. He chose a scratched-up, much-abused, hand-size pinball game. It wasn’t worth the asking price of 25 cents.
I suggested other toys that were in better condition. He looked at me with exasperation. Why couldn’t I see that this pinball game was the only real treasure on the table?
It turned out to be a great purchase. David took it everywhere — to bed, to the dinner table, to the bathroom. He also carried a baby rattle he’d recently found in some forgotten cranny of the house. That rattle had bored him in earlier years. Now when it was outdated and useless, it became one of his treasures.
To find the treasures that will bring us great joy, we have to ignore the preferences of our worldly flesh-nature and dare to trust God in his Word. We have to look for precious pearls in the redemption that Jesus brings to our sins. Great wisdom can be gained by asking: “Why am I bothered by this sin? What does it say about my desire for growth?” What a beautiful hidden treasure!
I want to follow You, Lord, beyond the waves and storms of the journey. I want to follow You with all my love and courage. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica