Fr. Kurian KollapallilThis week we have another set of kingdom parables, the first one is about the hidden treasure and the second is about the precious pearl. The parable of the hidden treasure tells us about a man who is ready to risk everything he has for the sake of owning the precious treasure. This shows how valuable and precious the kingdom of heaven is. The parable communicates the truth that when one really discovers Jesus and follows his vision of life, everything else becomes secondary. King Solomon was invited to make a choice. So were the disciples in today’s gospel. Making the right choice and willing to make sacrifices in order to retain the greatest treasure demands wisdom.  Living for the kingdom of God is the greatest imperishable treasure one can have. The kingdom of God satisfies all heart’s aspirations and fulfils all dreams. What is the cost of Christianity? Everything. Didn’t Peter, Andrew, James and John leave all they had– boats, and nets, father and their business, to follow Jesus (4:18-22)? Later Matthew would leave his tax collector’s post (9:9) to follow Jesus. They did give up much to “buy the field.”

The second parable is similar but slightly different.  A business man who looks for fine pearls finds one of great value and then he goes and sells everything he owns to buy it. In the first parable the man comes upon the treasure accidentally in the course of his life, whereas in the second parable the pearl was found after a diligent search. The man was on the lookout for the “pearl of great price”. He knows it must exist somewhere and he uses all his energies to find it. This was Paul’s experience: “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8)

The folly of the worldly treasures

Alexander the Great was the greatest conqueror of all time. He was told and considered himself to be a god.  Alexander after all his great conquest when he reached at the banks of river Indus there he knelt down and wept because he said “I have no more worlds to conquer.” After his many great conquests he was returning home and on the way back home he fell ill and was on the death bed.  Threatened by the greatest enemy “death’’ before him, he realized how his greatest conquests, his great army, his son- ship of god, his wealth and all his possessions were of no use to him.  Fearful of his impending death he called his generals and made known his last three wishes.  They promised him that they would fulfill his wishes faithfully.  His first wish was that his physicians alone must carry his coffin. The second wish he said “I desire that when my coffin is being   carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury.” And the third and final wish was that his hands were to be kept dangling out of his coffin.  People all wondered about the strange wishes of their king but none dared to ask him, except his favorite general. To his enquiry the king replied, “My three wishes are just to let the world know about the lessons I learned.”  The first wish is to let the people know that no physician can really cure anybody; they are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. The second wish teaches the lesson that all his earnings the wealth and the gold he could not take with him.  The third and most important lesson is that he came empty handed in to this world and he returns empty handed.

“It is very true that we must have great confidence in order to abandon ourselves, without reserve to Divine providence; but also, when we abandon everything our Lord takes care of everything and arranges everything.”  St. Francis de sales.