Wednesday in the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time at Mississippi Abbey

In today’s parables Jesus is implying something quite important to the discovery of the kingdom of heaven. It is important because it makes a difference, a big difference. The experience of God’s absence arouses in us the desire for and the recognition of God’s presence. The men in today’s parable knew the importance of what they had found because of their prior experience of poverty. They knew they hadn’t won the lottery. They didn’t get lucky; they discovered. They discovered because something was revealed to them. They found something that changed their whole basis for living, their whole way of valuing. And so, they sold and spent EVERYTHING!         

People don’t seek God because they have everything they need. The men today seem to have had enough, yet they were “like the deer that yearns for running streams.”  When they discovered the treasure and the pearl-of-great-price, they gave up their criterion for what makes for a good life: they gave up self-satisfaction. By renouncing everything for the kingdom of heaven they chose (by an act of the will) to live for the important-in-itself. The big difference was in what matters most.        

Satisfaction is subject to the ebb and flow of external circumstances. The important-in-itself is interior. It is pervasive, enduring, and deep. When all else fails, God remains.