Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Treasure in a field; see you in a week

Today's Gospel couldn't be more appropriate. Jesus compares the Kingdom of heaven to a buried treasure, discovered by a happy passer-by. The natural response to a find like that is to "go, sell all you have" and buy it (words we find Jesus using more than once). Interestingly, Jesus never says that the new owner goes and digs up the treasure. But it's his, all his.

Even if he never retrieves the treasure, or sells it off bit by bit, things are very different for the new owner of that very special field. I have a sneaking suspicion that he would  never sell the treasure: what would he use the proceeds for? A different treasure? The treasure is a good in itself: it is to be enjoyed, contemplated, celebrated.

What sort of treasure that is depends on the person and the circumstances. Naturally, if we're talking "Kingdom of God," we mean God himself. But there are little earthly treasures that serve as sacraments of that divine treasure. And they can be just as hidden as the mysterious presence of God. Think of your spouse: you recognize treasures of grace and goodness in this special person that may very well be hidden from every other pair of eyes but yours. Mothers famously see goodness in their children, even when those children are convicted of horrific crimes. Are the mothers wrong? Or is there really a buried treasure that is all but out of reach?

Tonight our annual retreat begins. You could say that it is that time once a year that I go to my field and dig up my buried treasure, dust it off, contemplate it in a new light and recommit to it.

I hope to be back on line in a week. In the meantime, you are in my prayers, along with all your special needs, hopes and intentions. But for today, I invite you to look at your own buried treasure, "rejoicing at the find."