Sunday, July 24, 2011
Jesus put before the crowds another parable: "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."
He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened. 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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes." And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old." Matthew 13:31-33,44-52
In the past few days I have had some physical set backs. Between the heat outside and the pain within, it is natural to give in to dark thoughts. It is too easy to miss the one or two pearls of great price. I live in a home where laughter and hospitality rule. My family supports and surrounds me and encourages me when the challenges get overwhelming. These are a few among the many pearls that are priceless in my life. And they bring life and promise to every moment, even the ones that seem to have no way out.
Jesus tells the crowds, through images and picture stories about the kingdom of heaven. They need simple ways of understanding - as do we- a very complex and incomprehensible concept. God's love, and God's reign, dwell in the depths of love and in whom we treasure. God is both real in the everyday and commonplace as well as eternal. Living with God means holding tight to the love and value that is among us - the pearls with which we sustain life.
Today, I want to focus on the pearls, one pearl at a time, enjoying the luster and beauty and understanding the priceless nature of love and constancy - the signs of the indwelling of God's kingdom. I ask simply that God open my eyes to the priceless gifts today and that I have the courage to embrace them all.
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.