I went to a car dealership to look for a new car. The salesman showed me different models of the Chevrolets. He told me that their cars are excellent. He explained to me the functions of the car, saying all the good things about these cars and how wonderful they were. He invited me to test- driving the car to see how great the car was. According to that salesman, the cars of their dealership were the best in the market. He explained to me the discount offers from the factory as well as from the dealership. After all of this, before making my decision, I asked the salesman, “What kind of car are you driving?”
He looked at me with a surprise look and replied, “I am driving a Honda!”
If he is driving a Honda, why is he trying to convince me that the Chevrolets are the best in the market? Or once in a while after the Mass, someone complimented me, “Father, your homily is exceptionally good today. I am going to tell my son to come to Mass, he needs to hear it.” Or other said, “My husband should have been here today to hear your homily.”
I appreciated the compliment, but I was a little disappointed to hear that the message was good for someone else and not for them.
The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field or like a merchant searching for fine pearls. Jesus is talking about the treasure and the pearl for you and me and not just for someone else here. We need to find these treasure and fine pearl for ourselves. Have you found the treasure of your life?
King Solomon finds the treasure of his life. His treasure is not the greatness of his kingdom. It is also not the power and the authority that he has, nor the wealth of money and gold that he possesses. His treasure is his vocation as a king. God promises to grant Solomon whatever he would like. Solomon replies to God, “I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen . . . Give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.” Solomon neither asks for more wealth nor for good health nor for a superior mighty army. He just asks for the wisdom and the ability to govern God’s people. That is his primary concern. His desire is to fulfill the responsibility as a king. He recognizes that to serve God well in the midst of the People that God has entrusted to him is the treasure. To fulfill his responsibility before God is the most important thing to him.
What is most important to us should be considered as our treasure. Tom, a young man meets Gabriel, a beautiful loving young woman. He falls in love with her from head to toes. She is the first person he thinks of when he wakes up in the morning. She is the only person who stays in his mind throughout the day. She is the last person he remembers before he falls asleep. She is the person in his dream. So Gabriel is his treasure. Tom would do anything for her.
This is true in life as well. If your spouse is your treasure, he or she would be the one that is most important to you. If your family is your treasure, everything you do is to contribute to the wellbeing of your family and your children. If your marriage is your treasure, then you would do everything to protect and strengthen it. And if God is your treasure, then you will do everything to keep your relationship with God alive. As Jesus says, once you find this treasure, you will go and sell what you have and buy the treasure. All of us one time or other have found someone or something that we consider as our treasure. And we are ready and willing to make sacrifices in order to get the treasure we want. So this teaching is not difficult to understand. It is also not difficult to do. The most difficult part is to go and find the treasure. Once we have found it, we would be able to go and sell all what we have in order to buy it. We are not able to sell what we have because we have not found the true treasure yet. We are not able to completely invest our life in the heavenly kingdom because we have not found the treasure of the kingdom that Jesus is speaking of.
Last month, the state of New York has legalized same-sex marriage. And this week, it will become effective. Gay couples will be able to get married in New York. A city clerk with 16-year-veteran of the office in New York, Mrs. Sheldon, has submitted her resignation dues to her religious beliefs. Mrs. Sheldon said her decision was a difficult but obvious one. She believes the Bible expressly forbids homosexuality, and that is all she needs to know. “I believe the Bible is the word of God,” she said. “I could not violate my conscience and my faith by signing a document that I feel I cannot sign.” “If I had to come to work every day with trepidation that somebody might come in asking for that kind of license, it would be very difficult to do my job,” she said. “And if I recommended that they go to another town or city clerk I would be opening myself up to discrimination, and it's not my desire to discriminate against other people.” She said she is giving up a job she loves and a salary and health insurance package of $32,760 a year. She lives with her husband, Robert, a retired dairy farmer, and they will celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary next month. “I know how to live on a little and I know how to live in abundance, and if I have to live on a little then that will be it,” she said. This is a true example of someone who has found the treasure of the kingdom of heaven in today’s world.
Living in the world, we are always challenged to search for the kingdom of heaven amidst the multiple worldly things that people consider as pearls and treasures. Jesus is speaking about the treasure which has the lasting value that we will take with us into eternity. This treasure is nothing other than our faithful loving relationship with God. St. Paul explains the treasure of this relationship in the second reading, “For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
One day a priest was saying his prayers in church, when a lady, carelessly dressed and very worried and excited, approached him and said, “Father, I am very troubled. Will you please hear my confession at once?”
Without waiting for an answer, she began to tell the priest the cause of her trouble. “Last night,” she said, “my mother sent me to her cupboard for a package. My mother is suffering with cancer, Father. The pain I have caused her by my wicked life is perhaps greater than the pain she suffers from her disease. I brought the package to my mother, and she told me to open it. I did, and found a small note inside, which Mother asked me to read. It was written in my mother’s own handwriting. This is what the note said: “A beautiful remembrance of the happiest day of Ann’s life.” When I finished reading it, I looked at Mother. I then knew it was the only way she could tell me how much it hurt her that I failed to live a good life and receive the sacraments as I should, for when I reached into the box I picked up my First Communion dress, white and clean. It was a picture of my soul on the day of my First Holy Communion. But now my soul was black with sin.
“I took the dress and rushed out of the room, threw myself on my bed and cried into that blessed reminder of the happiest day of my life. You see now, Father, why I want to go to confession.” (Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, Catechism in Stories, 217).
Mortal sin kept Ann from receiving Holy Communion. Mortal sin kept her from the relationship with God. She lost the joy and happiness of those early days of her childhood. The thought of her First Communion, and the desire to restore the joy of receiving Holy Communions, made her seek confession to be freed from sin so that she might receive her best Friend again. She rediscovered her treasure; therefore she was able to go and sell her sins at the confessional and buy back her relationship with God through the grace of forgiveness.