A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 13: 44-46
I don’t know a little kid who does not go out looking for treasures. Treasure hunting is part of our DNA as human beings. There must be something wonderful under that rock, behind that door, or in that store. I remember bringing my empty band-aid or cigar box combing the hillside for “lucky” stones and odd shaped treasures. We treasure our photos, collecting them into boxes, albums, or preserving them forever in the Cloud. Jesus said, “wherever your treasure, there also is your heart” (see Matthew 6: 21).
Our treasures, the objects of our desires, are always autobiographical. Treasures tell stories. Their worth is not always found in the markets of financial exchange but in the stories and memories cherished in our hearts. It is always a good idea to search, seek, and find the objects around us that evoke the memories within us and the stories we need to share.
Some of us love antique stores. Spending hours looking through junk for the buried treasure lurking in the nooks and crannies of too much stuff just waiting to burst forth with surprise and delight. We even exclaim, as if some great miracle just happened, “Look what I found!” Interestingly, everyone around you, in that moment of delight, pauses to rejoice with you.
Sometimes the treasure brings forth sadness and painful memories. I remember finding my Mother’s Rosary one day in a storage box. It was a treasure to behold. The hands that thumbed those beads held me tight. Treasure, like that precious moment, bring forth a smile, a tear, and a blessing.
Jesus pointed out the vibrant interrelationship between heart and treasure. He even proclaimed that God was like a treasure buried in a field.
The heart is a field of dreams, memories, hopes, and expectations. Many painful memories are buried in the heart making it difficult to go there searching for the treasures. It takes great courage to confront painful memories but the effort is worthwhile if it brings understanding and compassion to others. The parables of Jesus challenge us to take a chance. Once you find the treasure buried in the field of your heart, you can have peace of mind, serenity of heart, and purpose for life. Buried in the soil of painful memories and sacred expectations is no less than the Presence of God. The God who is your lifelong companion. The God who did not abandon you in the time of trouble but invites you to rise to the occasion and be the hope of your longing.
The Parable of the Buried Treasure challenges us not to hide from the difficulties of life. It is important that we not be buried alive but have the presence of mind to be fully awake, fully alert, and fully alive. The treasure buried in the heart is the source of wisdom born of experience, the presence of God born of God’s fidelity, and in the depth of myself, God’s precious gift to the World.
Don’t be surprised if someone comes into your life to dig you up. You are that treasure of great price. Discover your worth when bringing another comfort, peace, friendship, understanding, and love. Thank God for each and every one of you, for you are the treasure Jesus found in the depth of his heart. Keep digging, Lord!