Friday, July 30, 2010
Blog 32 - a / FIELD / TREASURE / PEARL
Blog 32 - a / FIELD / TREASURE / PEARL Matthew 13 : 44 - 46 presents two parables given us by Jesus. In the first parable a man finds a treasure buried in a field. He hides the treasure and buys the field with all that he possesses. In the second parable a man is searching for a fine pearl. He finds one and sells all that he possesses to obtain it. Thee is a significant richness in these parables that is available to us if we pay attention to some of the important details given in the text. In the first parable the image that comes to my mind is that of a box or a treasure chest hidden in the field. In the chest are various items of great value that are examined by the man who finds it. I imagine this as an ongoing process over a period of time. I imagine the man being greatly surprised at some of the items in the chest, and rejoicing at all the chest contains. But the chest and the treasures within and the field itself are not his own until he buys them. He must find out to whom the field belongs before he rightfully takes possession of the treasure. Then once the field is his own I imagine the man digging up the treasure again, and taking it home. Some of the treasure he keeps. Some of it he gives away to family and friends. Some he sells and trades in commerce to obtain what he needs to support himself. After Jesus gave the parable of the Sower the Apostles asked Jesus to explain it. You may want to say to me: Fr. Charlie, what do you mean by your response to the parable of the treasure in the field? The field is all that is created. God claims to be the singular unique source and owner of all that exists, from the beginning to the end of the story. (Gen:1). God is love. (1 Jn 4: 8). And since there can be no divisions, parts, or limitations in the infinite mystery of God, we can say all of creation is in some real but limited and created sense love. Since God is love all of creation is love. Yet it does not cease to be itself. It is something like a ring in the jeweler's shop. Though it does not cease being a ring, on the occasion of becoming a wedding ring it shares in the love of husband and wife and it becomes a new reality in its share in their love. The treasure is my life,your life, life in general, all life. Life comes from nothing to where it is by the will of God. God handed it over to us to care for it and to use it according to its built-in purpose and design. (Gen 1: 28 - 31). The prophet Micah put it this way: You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do what is right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6; 8). Three of the most valuable realities I have discovered in that portion of creation's treasure chest called life are: the presence of God, the meaning of love, and the ability to pray. These three alone are so valuable we could give all that we have to receive them and we would have received a bargain! They are designed to exist forever, to be eternal treasures! The second parable we are considering presents a man searching for a particular treasure, a pearl of great price. We can easily conclude the pearl is sought for its own sake, not to be used in barter or for some other purpose than itself. I identify the pearl of great price as death. Every sincere gift is love, love offered or love received. Death offered and received is the greatest gift of all,the greatest possible love, because to love means to give (Jn 15: 13 ), and in death we give everything we have and experience for the first time in our life our eternal name, the answer to the question Who am I? All love this side of death is partial. Death and only death among all our possible love is total. There is nothing left to give. Evey hair on our head, and every penny in our pocket are left behind. It is the treasure all of us are seeking. Only God has such love to give. Only God deserves such love.