Wednesday, August 1, 2018
1) Opening prayer
God our Father and protector,
without You nothing is holy,
nothing has value.
Guide us to everlasting life
by helping us to use wisely
the blessings You have given to the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading
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."
• The Gospel today presents two brief parables from the discourse on the parables. They are similar to each other, but with significant differences that clarify aspects of the mystery of the Kingdom which the parables are revealing.
• Matthew 13:44: The parable of the treasure hidden in the field. Jesus tells a very simple and brief story which could happen in the life of any person. He says, “The kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field; someone finds it and hides it again, then he goes off with great joy, he sells everything he owns and buys the field.” Jesus does not explain, He only says, “The kingdom of Heaven is similar to a treasure hidden in a field.” In this way He urges the listeners to share with others what this story has aroused in them. I share some points that are discovered: (a) The treasure, the Kingdom, is already found in the field, in life. It is hidden. We go through the field and step over the plants without being aware. (b) The man finds the treasure, just out of chance. He did not expect to find it, because he was not looking for it. (c) Seeing that it is a question of a very important treasure, what does he do? He does what we all would do in order to take possession of the treasure. He goes and he sells everything that he has and he buys the field. And, thus, together with the field, he obtains the treasure, the Kingdom. The condition is to sell everything! (d) If the treasure, the Kingdom, is already in my life, then this important aspect of life begins to have new value. (e) In this story, what dominates is gratuity. The treasure is found by chance, independently from our plans. The Kingdom comes! We must reap the consequences and not allow this moment of grace to go by without bearing fruit.
• Matthew 13:45-46: The parable of the merchant of fine pearls. The second parable is similar to the first one, but with an important difference. Let us try to discover it. The story is the following: “The kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value, he goes off and sells everything he owns and buys it.”. I share some points that I have discovered: (a) it is the story of a merchant of pearls. His profession is to look for pearls. This is the only thing that he does in his life: to look for and to find pearls. Looking, he finds a pearl of great value. Here the discovery of the Kingdom is not just by chance, but it is the fruit of a long search. (b) The merchant of pearls knows the value of the pearls, because many people would like to sell him the pearls that they find. But the merchant does not allow himself to be deceived. He knows the value of his merchandise. (c) When he finds a pearl of great value, he goes and sells everything which he owns and buys the pearl. The Kingdom has the greatest value.
• Summarizing the teaching of the two parables. Both of them have the same objective: to reveal the presence of the Kingdom, but each one reveals it in a different way: through the discovery of the gratuity of God’s action in us, and through the effort and the search which each human being makes to discover the meaning of his/her life.
4) Personal questions
• Have I ever found a hidden treasure? Have I sold everything in order to buy it?
• What is the pearl that you are looking for and you have not as yet found?
• Both parables are built upon “finding”. To find, there has to be some effort to “look”. What am I doing to “look” for the Kingdom so that I can find it?
• What is my image of the Kingdom? How will I know when I find great treasure?
5) Concluding Prayer
I will sing of Your strength,
in the morning acclaim Your faithful love;
You have been a stronghold for me,
a refuge when I was in trouble. (Ps 59:16)