17th Sunday in Ordinary Time | Year A
Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’
It has never been so easy to sell anything (or everything) we own. Websites like Trade Me provide the opportunity 24 hours a day every day. They can also be trawled at any hour of the day or night in search of items of value, which can hopefully be purchased for less than their value or cost elsewhere.
Like the Trade Me trawlers the people in Jesus’ parable were searchers. The merchant was actively looking for fine pearls and the other person was actively searching for something in the field. Perhaps both had heard rumours or received clues that set them off on their searches.
This parable brings to mind Jesus’ words in Matt 7:7: “Seek and you will find”. Seeking, having eyes that see and ears that hear, are all refrains in the Scriptures. Searching for God in our lives and in our world involves being alert and active in our spiritual lives, always awake to the possibility that the voice of God or an element of the kingdom of heaven might be found in the events of our everyday lives.
It is easy to lapse into a passive approach to our spiritual lives. If we are waiting for God to break through the thick layer of our routines and priorities it may not happen, or we may simply not notice it when he does.
In the parable one person went digging in a field and the other turned over baskets full of pearls in their search. Their response was dramatic when they found items of value. If we are sometimes reluctant to search for God, is it because we suspect we might have to respond in a similar way in terms of change?