That’s Some Expensive Dirt Ya Got Mustard On! ~ Fr. Ken Nelan

1st Reading – 1 Kings 3:5-12
Responsorial – Psalm 119: 57, 72, 76-77, 127-130
2nd Reading – Romans 8: 26-39
Gospel – Matthew 13: 31-333, 44-52

13:31-32 … “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Here we go again – all these parables all at once telling me what, to go out and plant a bush in really expensive land? Well, if you really must ask then sure, let’s go with that for a second. What today’s gospel is saying is that we should take something infinitely small and cherish it so much that it becomes the sole focus of our lives. Be thankful for what you’ve got. and when you find something worthwhile, be sure to invest all you are into what you’re doing. Yes, that is the one of the many lessons embedded within the Pearl of Great Price, but there is another focus or tangent I’d like to follow – would you ever recognize the treasure or seed if you saw it? How do you know you’ve invested all you are into what you believe to be valuable? Or – are you like the one who finds treasure in someone else’ field? Do you hide the treasure so that you alone can reap its rewards? See – today’s Gospel isn’t so cut and dry. It may or may not be about the value we find. It could be about the evil we do when we hide something that rightfully belongs to someone else only to claim it for ourselves.

Rather than create a shadow over a great parable, let’s look at this in terms of the treasures already in our lives. I’d like to borrow from a great friend who mentioned the great works coming out of special people in his life. How do we treat those treasures in our life; the ones we are surrounded by day in and day out, those we might take for granted or rely on daily, and those who give of themselves so freely that we assume they will be there at every moment of our own needs – how well do we take care of our treasures? Do we even see them as we move through our busy lives?

Things we see as being small and insignificant sometimes contain within them enough energy and power that they could alter the very fabric of our realities, yet we pass them by leaving them hidden in the soil until we see them too late in our lives to do anything about them. Fear grips us and prevents us from moving forward and grabbing the pearl in a moment’s notice. We forget how to fish or make loaves of bread. We even forget how to plant a seed so that later we can cherish the resulting fruit or flowers.

Living today’s Gospel isn’t as easy as planting a seed, baking bread, or fishing an ocean with nets. Our complacency has kept us from recognizing the good things in our lives so we instead focus on the weeds, the stale bread, and the rotting fish on the shores. BUT — Our Gospel today teaches us to be thankful for the good things we’ve got and to move in the Lord when we recognize +His presence in our lives. It also means helping and empowering those around us to do the same.

We have a chance to be like the one who finds, after years of what seems like endless searching, a great pearl – THE BEST PEARL – who then goes to do all he can so that he can own it. He sells off some of his possessions, possibly even gets a second job for a while hoping no one else will buy that great pearl. His hard work and dedication is rewarded when he is able to own that one great pearl.

The pearls are all around us. They help us move through our lives and give us comfort in times of need. They are often invisible until we need them, but they are there.

Be thankful for what you have and then be a pearl for someone else. Be great and thankful. Yes, I think those two words are the greatest of lessons within our Gospel today – be thankful and then be all you can be for someone else.

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