Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, Jesus shares some short parables about the kingdom of heaven.  Scholars note that Matthew substitutes “heaven” in places where other Gospels use “God.”  So, Matthew, unlike Mark and Luke, refers to the “kingdom of heaven” rather than the “kingdom of God.” 

Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Simultaneously, he asks us to pray in the Our Father that this kingdom draw even closer.  This kingdom starts small, like a mustard seed planted in each of our hearts.  At the end of time, we will see it in its fullness.

For right here and right now, we need to see this as the great treasure that Jesus describes.  It is worth more than all else that we have.  It is hidden so that it might be found.  Jesus wants us to seek it out and to rejoice in finding it.  In finding it, we will have found great riches beyond description.  But only if we orient our life as one in search of this treasure.  A life that seeks to find it and draw it ever closer.

The greatest treasure, of course, that God gives us is himself.  God gives us his only Son that we might have eternal life. 

Yet, it is possible to go about this life ignoring this treasure that has been hidden for us to find.   This world often seems like the streets of a busy city.  So often, people hurrying through the streets are so preoccupied that almost anything could be happening around them.  And they would be oblivious to it all. 

In New York, famous people have played music at subway stations without being recognized.  Jimmy Fallon made it a feature of his show.  U2, Alanis Morissette, Miley Cyrus, Maroon 5, and Christina Aguilera are just a few that have pulled that off with his help.   A much smaller treasure was there, and hardly anyone noticed.

It seems that many will have great regret that they never noticed what God has hidden from them in this life.  That they focused exclusively on the things of this world in living a life that is so, so short compared to eternity.  What a lost opportunity!

Do we fully recognize and appreciated the much greater treasure of God hidden in plain view?  Are we willing to help others to discover this treasure?  Are we equipping ourselves to help others make this discovery?