In the Gospel this weekend, our Lord likens the Kingdom of God to a treasure buried in a field, and a pearl of great price. Since we have heard these analogies many times throughout our lives, we may miss how strange they are. Consider someone who finds a treasure, buries it again, and then sells all of his goods to buy the field…people would surely think something was wrong with him. The same for someone who sells all of their belongings to buy a pearl. Think about it: What would I do with a treasure or a pearl if I had gotten rid of all of my other belongings? It’s a very impractical move, not very common-sensical. It’s like starting over. And that is exactly the point.
The practice of the Catholic Faith in our culture has become overly practical, business-like, cautious, calculating…not very other-worldly. Many can fall into living a polite, comfortable, non-sacrificial kind of Christianity. Christian discipleship which won’t make us stand out, avoids any extremes, avoids any radical decisions to follow Christ when it might conflict with my material well-being. This is perhaps why Christ uses such strange imagery – to show that the disciple who truly understands the beauty of the Truth which is Himself will abandon anything and everything to take hold of the one Good that finally matters.
He also uses the image of the net which takes in all different kinds of fish, both bad and good. You might recall His use of the similar image of the weeds and wheat to convey that the Kingdom of God, not yet reaching its final fulfillment until the end of time, is a mixture of true and false disciples. Which is not something we can determine with any finality until the end of time. While on this earth, sinners may become saints, and saints may fall. Let’s use this as a reminder that we are never to place our hope in anyone other than Christ Jesus and, additionally, that we are never to hastily judge a sinner or exalt a saint. We are to pray for both: for the conversion of the one, and the perseverance of the other.
In Christ, Father Marotti