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Treasures new and old

Gospel Reading: Mt 13:44-52
Jesus said to his disciples: “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.”

Treasure Trove. Generosity is second nature to many of us. We are born with a kindness that is both part of our character and inspired by the goodness we witness around. Occasionally, practical circumstances move us to do something extra, and the desire to step in and make a difference in the life of someone in dire need propels us to greater heights. In many instances, our acts of kindness involve sharing our limited resources with others and giving out our hard-earned treasures to friends and strangers. In a genuine experience of giving, however, we must have realized that we receive something more precious than what we have given, something intangible, lasting, and strengthening.

Ordinary treasures are seen; they are the things we give to others even if we do not have enough. Real treasure, however, is invisible. It is what moves us to share our limited resources with others and open our hearts to them.

Jesus reminds us of such treasure in the Gospel. “The Kingdom of heaven,” he tells us, “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” (v 44).

We reap what we sow (cf Gal 6:7). Our investment is really a kind of insurance policy that depends greatly on our ability to let go something. We learn to live meaningfully and acquire a deeper sense of happiness in relation to how we deal with others and how we make use of what we have. The Kingdom of heaven may be already in us, but its treasure is yet to be found or bought (cf vv 45-46).

Despite the hardships of life, many things are available to us. We could be poor and still young, but acts of kindness are always at our disposal and within our reach. When we commit ourselves to a noble deed, we are making a choice and selecting a side – the side of principled goodness that shuns passivity and throws evil away (cf vv 47-48).

We can be as good and happy as we allow ourselves to be. We set the bar of expectation at a particular level and measure our success against it. The Lord reminds us on this: “The measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Lk 6:38).

But we can achieve more and do more. Each one of us is a treasure trove of God’s blessings. We have in our hands an endless supply of goodness that we can share with others. For as long as we dare to go and sell what we have – offer our life to God – we shall find a treasure more precious than gold and a life more fulfilling than our personal ambitions. It will be a treasure that gives us the strength and courage to carry out difficult tasks and the joy of finding God in others.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.