Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:44-52

‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.’

Sr Sandra Schneiders spent twelve years writing a trilogy on Religious Life: Finding the Treasure, Selling All and Buying the Field. The titles alone drew me into her work. It is a meticulous exploration of the values that are explicit and implicit in Religious Life. Making a parable the backdrop for her work is a very engaging strategy. It’s almost impossible to read her work without having your perspective deepened and challenged.

Parables are intended to challenge and disturb us. How we enter and engage with the parable is our choice. While the temptation is often to allegorise, assigning meaning to each element of the story, the real power of the parable is the questions that it raises within us. 

Lurking beneath the details of this story for me are some unanswered questions:

Who owned the treasure?
Are you entitled to something that you find in a field?
If you sell all you have, what do you live on? 

The finding of the treasure and wanting to secure it was all consuming for the person in the parable. This is a once in a life-time discovery. I am left pondering the things in my own life that are all consuming. For who or what would I risk everything?

The kingdom that Jesus offers is of incomparable worth. What might it mean for you to risk everything for the Kingdom?