The Treasure Within my Soul – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Book of Kings 3:5-12: “I give you a heart so wise and understanding…”

Paul to the Romans: We know that all things work for good for those who love God…

Gospel According to St. Matthew: 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.”

fading beauty

You offer security.

You are solid under me.

I walk,

And you seem to glide beneath my feet,

Catching my footsteps,

Preventing a fall into the abyss.

 

True, at times, you seem too fixed,

Unmoved, unresponsive, unyielding,

Then, you hurt, aggravate, block,

That’s your nature.

My faith does not want to move your mountains—

But rather, aspire to their triumph

Touching the sky.

 

Shell shock standing

When you do move beneath us—

Quaking, sliding, collapsing—

Our safety vanishes.

We need you to be invincible, for

The earth (treasure) in us is so vulnerable.

          Meditations for the New Millennium: Communion of Life by Chris Glaser, 1999 (Day 5 Earth)

We are all in the palm of God's hand

We are all in the palm of God’s hand

This poem could be a direct prayer to the kingdom of God, our treasure. We come into this world with nothing but dust. We leave this world with nothing but the treasure buried in our dust. I don’t know about you, but I often cherish security as my greatest treasure… if I am honest. I cling to security like a child desperately wanting swim, but refusing to trust and let go of his patient father. For the first stanza I thought of Simon Peter saying to Jesus during the storm, “If you are the Son of God, then command me to walk on the water to you.” “Come!” Jesus says. And when Peter finally walks a few steps, he reverts back to the way things were, safe in the confining boat.

With the second stanza I think of Jesus saying to Simon Peter, “Get behind me Satan!” or “Put out into the deep and lower you nets for a catch!” “But master, we have been hard at it all night long and caught nothing!” Then we hear Jesus say not only to his disciples, but to me, “Unless you eat my body and drink my blood… pick up your cross and follow me… love me more than family… to follow me requires suffering… Will you leave me also?” Then you hurt, aggravate, block… That’s your nature. And then we think of treasure buried within us of the broken bread/body and poured out blood.

They recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread, but he vanished from their sight. “Weren’t our hearts burning within us as he spoke to us along the way?” The Way of the Cross is not easy. We cry out like the poet: My faith does not want to move your mountains— But rather, aspire to their triumph, touching the sky.

In the final stanza, we realize life without the treasure hidden within us is a life without safety, joy or hope. Our life is so vulnerable.

What if the second coming of Jesus, the pearl of great price, is actually hidden among the refugee children risking everything to enter our Southern borders from Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador? Your bulletin gets it right this week, “If you think fertilized eggs are people but refugee kids aren’t…you’re going to have to stop pretending your concerns are religious.”

The parable today inspires Queen of Peace Catholic Community to think about tithing beyond 10% to the poor. Our community finds the buried treasure of God’s Love for the Poor. Then we go out and sell everything to purchase the field with the buried treasure. Cheerful givers that we are, Queen of Peace does this by giving away 10% of the offertory. That is the first place people consider finding more money. We don’t want to look at the 90%, but that is where God buried the treasure! Our God being good all the time, will not be outdone in generosity. The Kingdom of Heaven resides in each of us today. O my!DSCF8587

DSCF9220As Christians we receive (or find) God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord. (When we hide the treasure in our bodies as Eucharist… God, our treasure, multiplies the fruit within us: more fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, self-control and faithfulness.

After my mission visits to Haiti, Guatemala and Honduras, I agree wholeheartedly with Pope Francis. “I can say that the most beautiful and natural expressions of joy which I have seen in my life were in poor people who had little to hold on to. I also think of the real joy shown by others who, even amid pressing professional obligations, were able to preserve, in detachment and simplicity, a heart full of faith. In their own way, all these instances of joy flow from the infinite love of God, who has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ.” (Joy of the Gospel: 7)

And finally in the Imitation of Christ, we recognize the rising and revealing Treasure inside our hearts:

“God frequently visits the heart of a person. There the Beloved shares with the person pleasant conversations, welcome consolation, abundant peace and a wonderful intimacy. So come faithful soul. Prepare your heart for your spouse to dwell within you!

Make room for Christ. When you possess Christ you are a rich person, for the Beloved Jesus is sufficient for you.

Until you are intimately united with Christ, you will never find your true rest.

Beloved, the Kingdom of heaven that Jesus speaks of is already buried within us. We only need to search for the treasure with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. As we search, we discover that God has been searching for us. Let us use the gift of wisdom and be like three magi who offered the infant Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

God says to us: “I give you a heart so wise and understanding…”

Let us imitate St. Ignatius of Loyola who sang before the crucifix every day: “Take Lord, receive, all I have and possess: my memory, understanding, my entire will. Give me only your love and your grace, that’s enough for me. Your love and your grace are enough for me.

Jesus has buried the treasure in each one of us.

Now that is Good News I can treasure. How about you?

Is God calling YOU?

Is God searching for YOU?

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