In today’s reading (Matthew 13:44-46), Jesus says to his disciples:
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
I can’t get that old bag of a Wendy’s woman out of my mind, the one who’d lift all the buns of the burgers and say “Where’s the beef?” I’m picturing someone out on a scavenger hunt, who finds the treasure, but psyches out the other guys, until he has the whole field to himself … like a religious version of the reality show “Survivor.”
I’ve been asking myself what, exactly, is the treasure Jesus is speaking about. Is our unique gifts and talents and desires, as is indicated in Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be”?
Or is it the still quiet voice inside of us that we hear when we manage to silence our thought, as is written in my favorite Psalm verse (Psalm 46:10): “Be still and know that I am God.”
This seems too easy, but are you saying the kingdom of God is the treasure? In other words, don’t invest yourself too much in this world because it’s not the one that matters. And don’t concern yourselves too much with being liked and successful, because Your selection process operates a little differently.
I think so.
All You care about is that we have tried to love as deeply and as generously as we could.
That’s the treasure.
That by losing our life, we gain it. By dying, we are given eternal life. By forgiving, we are forgiven. It’s every line of the Prayer of St. Francis and more. The treasure is this prayer by Mother Teresa:
Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go
Flood our souls with your Spirit and life
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
That our lives may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through us
And be so in us
That every soul we come in contact with
May feel your presence in our soul.
Let them look up and see no longer us
But only Jesus.
Stay with us
And then we shall begin to shine as you shine,
So to shine as to be light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from you.
None of it will be ours.
It will be you shining on others through us.
Let us thus praise you in the way you love best
By shining on those around us.
Let us preach you without preaching
Not by words, but by our example
By the catching force
The Sympathetic influence of what we do
The evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.
I think that I’m like the old Wendy’s lady too much of the time … searching for peace here and there, in projects and in relationships … under all kinds of hamburger buns. But the treasure isn’t there. The beef isn’t about the size of the burger. It’s about what we do with our meat … wait, that sounds bad … and knowing that nothing we do is about us. It’s about You, God, in us … and about getting out of the way so that you can help us love well and deeply and generously.