New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Parables of the Kingdom - Part 2 - Mons Joao Cla Dias EP

The Parables of the Kingdom - Part 2

Parable of the Hidden treasure

"The kingdom of heave is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

The secondary details are omitted by the Evangelist. Did the Divine Master deal with them, or not? We have no way of knowing. But we can imagine how captivating Jesus exposition must have been, by the very fact that he discussed themes through His humanity, and, pari pasu, was illuminating, predisposing and aiding, through grace and His divine power, the depths of each soul present.

Matthew has a definite goal in mind. This is why he summarizes the parable in its essential parts, leaving aside, for example, how this treasure was discovered. We know of astounding discoveries of this sort throughout history. Hence, it is left to our imagination to fill in the details of this story.

The man hides the treasure once again. Morally speaking, he proceeds properly, by not taking possession of the unearthed riches. At the same time he shows himself to be prudent, hiding the riches to avoid causing temptation for others who could come across them. "It is not necessary to attribute this detail [that of hiding the treasure] to the significance of the parable, because, according to my theory it is merely an ornamental part of it" Maldonado analyses this point in particular, with deep and wise insight, while commenting on the considerations of St. Jerome and St. Bede.

We are intrigued that the authors concentrate on the man who finds the treasure, but are unconcerned about the land in which it was hidden. Let us probe this point a little further.

Considering the early years of the Church, we see how much it cost Jews and converted pagans "to buy the land" in which the treasure of salvation was hidden. The renouncement required was absolute: family, goods, reputation and even one's own life. How admirable, though, was the conduct of those who embraced the Catholic Faith in those times!

Which of the two roles does present day humanity play: that of the man who wishes to buy, or that of the one who wishes to sell? Unfortunately, most facts lean towards the second hypothesis. many of us today, fall prey to the folly of becoming unconcerned with this treasure of our Faith, won at such a high price by our ancestors, and for which the Saviour shed all of His Most Precious Blood on Calvary. For what shameful price do some of us sell this sublime treasure, just as Esau sold his birthright, in exchange for a paltry dish of lentils! Today, more than ever, the "lentils" of sensuality, corruption, illicit pleasure, ambition etc. are multiplying.

We could also include here the example of a religious who allows himself to be swept away by practical affairs, forgetting the 'treasure' for which he abandoned everything in his initial fervour.

The fullness of joy of the man of the parable should remain with us uninterruptedly throughout our entire lives, as one of the effects of the true Faith. Virtue is a freely bestowed gift; it cannot be bought. However, its ongoing possession and growth require self-denial, piety and fervour. It is necessary to "sell" all of our passions, caprices, manias, vices, sentimentality, etc. - in brief, all that is evil in us. It is the best 'deal; we can make on this earth.

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