The treasure in the field. The pearl of great price. Two cherished Christian images that seem to have lost none of their tangible appeal even if pearl merchants are no longer on street corners. I suppose we do have realtors and house-flippers looking for fantastic deals, though.
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.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
This Gospel reading is assigned to the fifth “sample penitential service” in Appendix II of the Rite “For Young People.” (That’s in contrast to the fourth sample service, “For Children.”) It is themed “Renewal of our Lives According to the Christian Vocation.”
Renewal. Reform. Change. Different than the way we used to do it. Tough theme. I think older adults might need it more than teens and young adults.
At any rate, while I’m not a big believer in “themes” for liturgy, it does tell us a bit about what the framers of the rite think are or were the needs of young people. It’s probably a good reading for anyone who begins to take seriously the Christian vocation of turning our lives upside down to accommodate Christ.
And notice how Jesus tells this parable. In the first example, the Reign of God is a thing, a treasure. In the second, the coming Kingdom is identified with a person, not the actual treasure.
The implication is that yes, while we are still on the way, the Kingdom is not yet with us, in us, nor are we completely a part of it. On the other hand, the ultimate goal is that people are the Kingdom. Not things. Not a future time. Not only God himself. But people who dedicate all of their lives, everything they value, and pour it into the Christian vocation.
Give it all to God. Especially our sins. That’s great. That’s something young people will understand.