Treasure of Great Price
Wednesday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time
In our Gospel today, if you were attentive enough to the reading, a phrase was repeated twice. What was it? ‘The Kingdom of heaven.’ This is the central message of Jesus in all his preaching: the Kingdom of God. Jesus spoke to his disciples about the Kingdom through parables and in today’s Gospel, two parables are mentioned: the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price. The Lord used stories lifted from the ordinary lives of the people of his time in order to convey to them the Kingdom. From these parables we can ask, “What then is the Kingdom of God?” As Jesus said, it is like a treasure buried in a field and a pearl of great price in which the one who found them sold everything in order to own them for himself. Those who found them were overjoyed because they realized that what they found is more valuable than what they presently have. Kining duha ka sambingay ni Cristo nagsaysay mahitungod sa duha ka tawo nga mosugot mawad-an sa ilang katigayonan aron lang maangkon ang bahandi ug mutya/perlas nga ilang nakaplagan.
Leaving behind something or even someone is not at all that easy. It entails a lot of sacrifice and even suffering as we have heard in today’s First Reading from the prophet Jeremiah. He realized the challenges as he continues his ministry as a prophet of the Lord. Jeremiah had been proclaiming God’s Word and he looked back at all he has endured for the sake of being God’s messenger. He reflected that it would have been better for him to have never been born as he looked back facing strife and conflict because of his bringing the Word of God to others. Yet, he also realized how much he himself has benefitted from being the Lord’s prophet when he said, “When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart.” When Jeremiah got the treasure and pearl of God’s Word, it became a source of joy, happiness, and hope for him even amid suffering, persecution, and sacrifice. In the end, the Lord promised to take care of Jeremiah for being His prophet, His messenger, “Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, For I am with you, to deliver and rescue you. I will free you from the hand of the wicked and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.” If we have found the Kingdom of God we shall receive its most priced treasure: Jesus Christ Himself who has revealed the Father to us through his life. Is the Lord the treasure and delight of my heart? What am I willing to ‘sell’ or set aside or give up so that I may attain this treasure of great price?
We can learn from the stories of our saints about how they do everything in order to preserve the greatest treasure that they have found. One of them is Saint Tarcisius, a twelve-year old acolyte during one of the fierce Roman persecutions of the 3rd century. Each Sunday, from a secret meeting place in the catacombs where Christians gather for Mass, a deacon would be sent to the prisons to carry the Eucharist to those Christians condemned to die. At one point, in the absence of the deacon, the young Tarcisius was sent to carry the Blessed Sacrament to those in prison. On the way, he was stopped by boys his own age who were not Christians but knew him as their playmate. He was asked to join their games but this time he refused. The other boys noticed that he was carrying something and at that time, he was recognized as a Christian and the small gang of boys became a mob and turned upon Tarcisius with fury. He went down under the blows while taking care of the Blessed Sacrament. He died due to the wounds that he got from the other boys. He did not give up protecting the Blessed Sacrament even if the price was his own life.
Brothers and sisters, every Eucharistic celebration is a constant reminder of the importance of the Kingdom of God and a renewed opportunity to make it grow in our hearts, in our families, and in our communities. In this Holy Mass, let this be our prayer: You, O Lord, are everything in my life. I have said, O Lord that my part is to keep your words. To have and to own You in my life is more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Amen.
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