“The kingdom of heaven is like…” (Matt 13:44).
July has been a month for parables. Matthew, like the scribe at the end of today’s Gospel passage, has poured out his store of sayings from Jesus about the mysterious Kingdom of God. Seeds, pearls, treasures, yeast, fishing nets — they all offer glimpses into what God is offering and how important it is for us to respond and act. Each little story unfolds its secrets, confronts us with choices, calls us to come closer and go deeper than ever before. Those who have eyes to see, let them see; ears to hear, let them hear.
There is a treasure under your feet waiting to be uncovered. The pearl of your dreams waits in the market, ready to be purchased and possessed. But both will cost you everything. Cast your net into the sea and draw out both the good and the bad. Sort with wisdom, keep what is good, discard the rest.
How we apply these parables is a matter for each of us. The essence of our encounter with the Word is the way the images play upon our hearts and minds and memories. An old cigar box wrapped in rubber bands holds some clear blue marbles, a paint-chipped lead soldier, colorful stamps, a brass key, a thimble, a pink paper umbrella. Only the child knows the story for each, but even years later, they invoke wonder at life’s variety and mystery.
To enter that place, not a place but a special zone of comprehension just beyond sight, is to open ourselves to a presence nearby, with us, more real than the anytime that frames the encounter. The treasure is a person; the pearl is never being alone again. We are storerooms full of God, to be dispensed freely to anyone who asks.