Wednesday in the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time at Mississippi Abbey
Aesop’s Fables also has a story about hidden treasure. A man had three sons who were very lazy. As his health was failing, he wanted to teach them the value of hard work before he died. So, he took all his money and purchased a large field. It was covered with weeds and full of stones, but he knew it was fertile ground for farming. His sons were angry and complained bitterly because they thought the land was worthless.
He said, “I will tell you why I bought it. There’s a treasure hidden in the ground. Find it and you will be wealthy for the rest of your lives.” His sons were eager to uncover the treasure, so they started to dig. They pulled up the weeds, carted away the stones, and turned over the soil looking for the treasure. They worked the ground for a long time until, at last, they understood their father’s words: the treasure was the land itself, prepared for seeding by their own hard work. They planted crops and the harvest was plentiful, and so it was every year, just as their father had promised.
Is there also another meaning to the buried treasure in today’s parable? Jesus says it is the kingdom of heaven. But, can we really possess the kingdom by selling all we have to buy the field? Are we the ones who seek and find? Or, is God the one who seeks and finds the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the buried treasure that will be his Kingdom? Could we be the buried treasure in this parable? Yes, we are! Because, if the buried treasure is the kingdom of heaven, then it is the whole Mystical Body of Christ.
But if we are the buried treasure, what are we worth? In our sinful condition we are worthless. But the value of something is also measured by what the buyer is willing to pay for it. Now, God, the One who seeks and finds, gave all he has, because he gave his own Son for us. This is cause for great rejoicing. All of us are of infinite value because of the price God paid to redeem us!