Claim the Treasure

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 26, 2020 – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 13:44-52

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I begin this reflection by quoting the first lines of today’s gospel where Jesus gives one of his many images of what the Kingdom of God is like. It is a passage many will be familiar with. It’s one of those “images” that can stick in one’s memory. Not so much because it’s meaning is clear. In fact, the opposite. It’s like a puzzle that defies an easy explanation.

“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.” (Mt. 13:44)

The passage starts with the “treasure” that’s buried in a field. Someone discovers it, reburies it and then buys the whole field. Then leaves the treasure buried. On one level this does not make sense. If one acquires a treasure, doesn’t it make sense to use it and enjoy it? That’s what most of us would do. I would.

Here’s my take. The field is our lives, your life and mine. “Buried” in us is the hidden meaning of our lives, God’s love for each of us. We did not create ourselves. We are brought into existence and life by God who loves us even before we existed, while we are now here on earth and forever with God after we die.

God is in us, around us and above us. And we can also say that we are in God. But God’s presence is always hidden or “buried,” to use the image given us by Jesus. God is the great treasure buried within all that God has created, including you and me.

How do we acquire this great treasure? Get rid of anything that blocks you from attending to the good that continually comes your way. What exactly that is will be different for each of us. Your field is yours and my field is mine. No two fields are alike. What’s common is the treasure.

What’s so amazing about God’s creation is its variety. Millions of galaxies and stars and planets with no two exactly alike. The same with us on earth – lots of wonderful diversity. We are beginning to see the need to explicitly celebrate that diversity while at the same time affirming our commonality. After all, the same treasure is hidden within all.

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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