Jesus said 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.” NABRE
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us about the joyful experience of finding the kingdom of heaven. As I pondered these words, I had many thoughts. I thought about how this is tied to Matthew 7:7, wherein Jesus directs us to seek so that we can find. I pondered the idea of how brutal the process of searching can be, and how these words of joy re-invigorated my commitment to searching. However, the thing that occurred to me most strongly was the idea that finding the kingdom is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In fact, the more I prayed about this idea, the more I realized that finding the kingdom is something that can happen daily. It is in finding treasures in our daily lives that we discover the joy of the kingdom of heaven. We can find it in contemplative prayer through which we encounter the indwelling Trinity. We can likewise find it in something as simple as a flower, a sunset, or even the smile of another person.
Of course, when we fully enter into the kingdom in the next life, our joy will be complete. Still, this truth does not diminish the value of the joy we experience in our lesser encounters with the kingdom. In fact, we learn to live more joyfully when we work to stay in the present and to allow ourselves to be more fully aware of when we encounter the divine. Plus, we can enhance these experiences by pondering them in our hearts. In learning to cherish these encounters, we will learn to live the fruit of these two parables each and every day.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit pondering how you have encountered the kingdom of heaven today. Spend some time celebrating the joy of these encounters, and allowing it to grow in your heart. Spend some time pondering how you can enhance your encounters with the kingdom in your day-to-day life. End your prayer with praise and thanksgiving to a God who loves you, and wants you to live a joy-filled life.
Ms. Debra D. Weldon, O.P., JD, MTS