Everyone – each of us – searches for happiness, for what will fill our hearts. Today’s Gospel goes beyond this search and makes us ask ourselves: what will we do when we actually find what we have been seeking.
In the first two parables, the protagonists sell all that they have so as to buy what they are looking for. The difference between these two characters is that the one who finds the treasure was not looking for it, but came upon it by chance. The other is a merchant who is searching for pearls. These are precisely the types of people who are in the world: some who find God without seeking Him and others who search for God until they finally find Him.
Our Gospel reading puts the emphasis on how we act in the moment; in both cases in order to obtain what they have found, the land or the pearl, they must sell “all that they have.”
Behind these examples is the idea that what they found is worth all that they owned. The Reign of Heaven is more valuable and important than everything else. This realization is at the heart of the entirety of Jesus’ teachings.
Many who have gone before us and many of our contemporaries have left everything for that Kingdom. Often, we realize the importance of the Kingdom, that it is none other than the presence of God in our lives, but the question is this: Are we prepared to dedicate to God’s Reign the attention, the time, and the love that it requires of us?
When we are convinced of the value of what we seek, everything – sacrifices, dedication, a life of commitment – then there is nothing that can stop us.
The Gospel presents us with two different ways the Kingdom is among us. Sometimes the Reign of God is hidden in places or people we do not know. While they themselves are not the Kingdom, the Kingdom is in them. This is why we discover God in places we least expect. Other times, we find God among the things that are special, but God becomes more valuable than all else.
Remember that in the Gospel it is not said that the treasure or the pearl that represents the kingdom lasts forever. That is in the end the reason why a person will sell or leave behind all to obtain or possess the Kingdom, because when we are searching, we are looking for that which will remains for time and eternity, and that is God and His Reign.