by | Jul 29, 2023 | Presence

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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full, they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Do you understand all these things? They answered, “Yes.” And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” (Matthew 13:44-52)


In our mass readings, Jesus is inviting us to a new way of life in Him, that of life elevated by grace. He wants us to live such that our thinking, our actions, and our activities are transformed by His wisdom and love. 

All that is truly good is born out of wisdom for as the proverb says, “Wisdom is their leader, though I had not known that she is their mother” (Proverbs 7:12). Wisdom came to earth to be with His people, taking on human nature (John 1:17-18). We know that “All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be” (John 1:3). It is in this Son of God, Jesus, that all knowledge and wisdom resides (Colossians 2:3). 

Wisdom is the great treasure by which we “gain friendship with God” (Wisdom 7:14). In this first parable, St. Thomas Aquinas quotes St. Jerome to explain that this treasure is the Word Himself ‘hidden’ in the body of Jesus (the ‘field’). His Sacred teaching is then discovered by us through faith and is the treasure hidden within us as Church. Its effects will bring forth our abandonment of things not pleasing to God, and instead we will seek to spend time with God-fearing people and wholesome entertainment.



But we must be careful to not follow false teachings that may appease our intellect or console our emotions. The true faith is the pearl of great price for which we should be willing to give everything. And God has taught “my word shall not return to me void” (Isaiah 55:11). Eventually time will come to an end and the bad fish will be sorted out from the good, the wheat from the chaff. We want to be one of those ‘good fish’ that will spend eternity with Jesus.

 Jesus’ new law, to love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34) both fulfills and includes the old law within itself. This is the precept and overriding command by which we understand the old law (the ten commandments). Thus, the one saved will be “like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” (Matthew 13:52). 

It is by God’s power that we are guarded by our faith, the knowledge through which He builds our understanding and perfects us with wisdom. Faith introduces us to His mysterious plan for our own salvation and that of the whole cosmos. We begin to see that even the chaos of our life has a purpose appointed by Him. It gives us the eyes to find His blessings even when surrounded by sin, manipulation, and hostility. It directs us to His Sacred Heart in which we find the antidote to all our miseries. 

We are to be His living testimony, showing by our lives that His teachings are not mere words. Our own transformation, if we allow Him to do so, will demonstrate the power of His love. His love breaks all that binds us to sin, vice, and sorrow, and then binds peace to our soul. This is how our faith protects us, by keeping us wrapped in His love. And no creature in the cosmos can break these bonds of love. Only our free will can do so. 

Let us then deny ourselves those choices that keep us imprisoned in the world. Ask Him for a desire to be freed and for the fortitude to seek Him alone. 

Maker of man who from Your throne

does order all things, God alone;

by whose decree the teeming earth

to reptile and to beast gave birth.

In Heaven Your endless joys bestow

and grant Your gifts of grace below;

from chains of strife our souls release,

bind fast the gentle bands of peace.

–Saint Gregory the Great, “Plasmator Hominis Deus”, 6th century hymn

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊





(Images: Hidden treasure by Rembrandt; Pearl of great price by A. Moronov; both via Wikimedia Commons)

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