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The Treasure of the Kingdom

Pearl-of-great-PriceMatthew 13:44-58 -The Treasure of the Kingdom 

Would it not be wonderful to find a great treasure in a field? How quickly we would sell everything we owned to take possession of that field. Similarly with the discovery of a unique pearl. How quickly we would let go of everything else we might treasure to have that one pearl.

But Jesus is not teaching us that the kingdom is a treasure or a pearl. That would be to miss the point by identifying the kingdom with the riches of this world. Nothing in this world matches the richness of the kingdom of God. Indeed, Jesus has to resort to an expression which opens up the distance between God’s kingdom and the wonders of this world: ‘The kingdom of God is like.’ The kingdom of God is not ‘the same as’ anything in this world. The kingdom is worth the price of everything we have. To be a part of the kingdom which Jesus has come to establish among us we must be prepared to pay no less a price than everything. If we would sacrifice all that we have for a treasure hidden in a field or a pearl discovered by a merchant, how much more for the Kingdom? 

Jesus immediately adds another simile, comparing the kingdom to a dragnet which contains many types of fish. Many of us may struggle to pay the price of everything. Yet we are part of that mixed bag, that net of many kinds. We must be content to continue in the midst of our own ambiguity and that of the world and the church as we leave it to a good God and Father to make the final judgement.

Living the parables of Jesus will be to go draw from our tradition, yet adapting it to the world we live in. It is thought that Matthew speaks of himself as a scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom. He may have been a cultured Israelite who entered the Christian Church and wrote a Gospel which blends both the old and new. But he is not the only one who became a disciple of the Kingdom. We too are asked to bring out of our storeroom things both old and new. (Adapted from This is the Gospel of the Lord – Year A, by Francis J. Moloney, pages 162-3)  

Matthew 13:44-58

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.51 “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” 53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.54 He came to his hometown and began to teach the people[a] in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” 58 And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.