17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Simham)
FIND OUT THE TREASURE WITH IN
If we observe carefully the three years of Jesus’ public ministry one thing we observe is his pre-occupation with the kingdom of God. He was so obsessed with the kingdom of God that in everything he said and did, he always referred to this kingdom. He began his ministry announcing ‘that the kingdom of god is at hand.’ (Mark 1:15). His sermon on the mount was about those to whom the kingdom belongs. “Happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the Kingdom of heaven…. Happy are those who are persecuted in the cause of right; theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3, 10). Using literally hundreds of parables, illustrations and prophetic examples he told of the glorious heavenly kingdom from which he had come and to which all the sons and daughters of Adam are invited.
Gospels we had last week and the week before were about the kingdom of God. And they all began with ‘the kingdom of god is like this………’ And the gospel today also contains three parables at least about the kingdom of God. Kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in the field. Kingdom of God is like a precious pearl. Kingdom of God is like a net cast into the sea.
Friends, I just want to ask you “What is this kingdom about which Jesus is so obsessed with? What is this kingdom that Jesus came to establish?” I know that I am entering into a topic which is very vast and it cannot be explained in few minutes. But let us understand it in the context of today’s gospel. To understand what it means to say that ‘kingdom of God is a treasure and a precious pearl worth spending anything for it.’
To put it in simple terms, “Kingdom of God is where the presence of God is felt and His will is at work.” It is for this Jesus has come into the world. He has come to establish the kingdom where knowledge of God and his goodness abounds, where his presence is felt and his will is at work.
Having said that, let me ask you another question. “Where is this kingdom of God?” Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you” (Lk17/21). He says “Many will come saying here is the kingdom, there is the kingdom, but remember the kingdom of God is within you, it is in your midst.” If kingdom of god is where the presence of God is felt and his will is at work and it natural that it should be within us. It is within our hearts. It means God’s reigning in our hearts and minds. God reigning our emotion, our thoughts, words and deeds. It is God reigning our desires and impulses.
So kingdom of God is God’s reign in our hearts. And hence it is like a treasure hidden in our hearts. It is a treasure hidden within you. But unfortunately we search for this kingdom every else where except in our hearts.
I remember the wonderful story of a poor tailor in Krakow. He was a very pious man. One night he had a dream in which a voice said to him. ‘If you go to Prague and dig beneath a certain tree behind the emperor’s castle, you will find a great treasure.’ Since the poor man placed great trust in dreams, he set out the very next day for Prague. However, when he got there he found that the castle was guarded. Unable to get across the bridge, he lived under if for a while. While there he became friends with captain of the guard. One day he shared his story with him. He said, ‘I had a dream that if I got into the castle grounds, and went to a certain tree and dug there, I would find a treasure.’ ‘You are a very foolish man’ said the captain. ‘You shouldn’t believe that sort of thing. I have dreams myself. Once I had a dream that over in Krakow there lives a poor but wise tailor, not unlike yourself. I dreamt that if I went to his house and dug behind his stove, I would find a treasure that somebody buried there a long time ago. Of course, I dismissed it as foolishness.’ The tailor thanked him, went back home, dug behind his own stove and found the treasure.
Friends we will never be happy unless we find that treasure, the kingdom of God within our hearts. Allow God to reign in your hearts, in your families and communities. We pray in our Father…”Your kingdom come. Your will be done.” Where? Where you want it to come? Let it come into your hearts. From there it flows into your family and ito your community. God bless you!
Fr. Showreelu Simham