What's the Kingdom of Heaven Worth to You?
In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew we hear the Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl. With these short parables Jesus wants us to understand the real value of prioritizing the Kingdom of Heaven above all else. In both parables, the protagonists recognize the treasure they have found and are willing to trade everything they own to possess it.
Each parable of Jesus contains a picture part, a reality part, and the point of comparison. In this instance, the picture part is the hidden treasure or the pearl, the reality part is God’s kingdom, and the point of comparison is the inestimable value of the Kingdom of Heaven. In the first instance the person finds the treasure hidden in the field. In the second instance the merchant is seeking the pearl and discovers it. In both cases they recognized that what they had come across was of great value. Faith in Jesus as our God and Savior and sacrificing everything in life to do the will of God are equivalent to discovering and possessing the most valuable treasure or the pearl of great price.
What about you? Do you recognize that that God’s Kingdom (the rule of God in us, accepting Jesus as our God and Savior, putting our Faith in God, and doing His will), is something of extraordinary value?
Jesus teaches us that identifying God’s will and living according to the Gospel, are the most precious and worthwhile things in life. Nothing is more valuable than a personal relationship with Christ. The Kingdom of God is founded on truth and love and bears great fruit. When we find and accept God’s reign in our hearts, in our lives, in our society and in our world, we receive God’s grace and all the joy, peace and happiness that comes along with it. Through Jesus and his Gospel, we come to know and understand the real meaning of life, the will of God for us each day, and the most important things we must do to secure our eternal salvation. What could be more valuable than this? What are you prepared to sacrifice to acquire it and keep it?
Too often we chase false treasures such as money, social status, or worldly pleasures. Thus, the valuable “pearl” of sharing in God’s life through Jesus here on earth and later in Heaven, is never found. Let us always remember that Heaven is within the reach of all of us who try to do the will of God, following the ordinary vocations of life and enjoying this world’s joys and pleasures within the framework of God’s Commandments. When we do this, we are already living in the Kingdom of Heaven while we are still on earth.
What are the hidden treasures in your life and what will you treasure the most this week?
God bless you folks, Father Gerard