27TH JULY 2022
Our today's reflection will be based on our Gospel passage Mathew 13:44-46
Since Monday Jesus has been addressing us in parables. Parables are earthly stories with heavenly meanings. In short parables talk about the kingdom of God. They compare heavenly realities with earthly things.
In comparing we can easily see the similarities (ie, likening two similar things) and the differences (ie, contrast) between the objects of comparison. At times Jesus likens heavenly realities with earthly realities such as the mercy and compassion of God and the love of the father in the parable of the prodigal son. The parable of the unjust judge contrasts God with the unjust judge who must be pushed to accord one his right.
Jesus used parables for various reasons:
- they were a popular teaching strategy in his time
- they helped attract and keep the attention of the audience
- they could easily enhance memory(one can easily remember the message)
- one could reflect on the meaning of the parable on his/her own thereafter
- Jesus could easily - but indirectly - attack his adversaries without raising an eyebrow.
Our today's two parables (the one of hidden treasure and the other of pearl) continue to discuss the nature of the “kingdom of heaven.” They teach the same lesson—the kingdom of heaven is of inestimable value. Both parables involve a man who sold all he had to possess the kingdom. The treasure and the pearl represent Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers. And while we cannot pay for salvation by selling all our worldly goods, once we have found the prize, we are willing to give up everything to possess it.
But what is attained in exchange is so much more valuable that it is comparable to trading an ounce of trash for a ton of diamonds (Philippians 3:7-9).
In both parables, the treasures are hidden, indicating that spiritual truth is missed by many and cannot be found by intelligence or power or worldly wisdom. Matthew 13:11-17 and 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, 14 make it clear that the mysteries of the kingdom are hidden from some who are unable to hear, see, and comprehend these truths. The disobedient reap the natural consequences of their unbelief—spiritual blindness. Those whose eyes are opened by the Spirit do discern spiritual truth, and they, like the men in the parable, understand its great value.
Notice that the merchant stopped seeking pearls when he found the pearl of great price. Eternal life, the incorruptible inheritance, and the love of God through Christ constitute the pearl which, once found, makes further searching unnecessary. Christ fulfills our greatest needs, satisfies our longings, makes us whole and clean before God, calms and quiets our hearts, and gives us hope for the future. As St Augustine says, our hearts can only find true rest and fulfilling in the Lord.