Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015 Wednesday: St. Martha

July 29, 2015 Wednesday: St. Martha

Matthew 13:44-46
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.”
In the ancient world there were banks, but not banks such as ordinary people could use. Ordinary people used the ground as the safest place to keep their most cherished belongings.

(1) The lesson of this parable is, first, that the man found the precious thing, not so much by chance, as in his day’s work. It is true to say that he stumbled unexpectedly upon it, but he did so when he was going about his daily business. And it is legitimate to infer that he must have been going about his daily business with diligence and efficiency, because he must have been digging deep, and not merely scraping the surface, in order to strike against the treasure. It would be a sad thing if it were only in churches, in so-called holy places and on so-called religious occasions that we found God and felt close to him. There is an unwritten saying of Jesus which never found its way into any of the gospels, but which rings true: ‘Raise the stone and you will find me; cleave the wood and I am there.’ When the mason is working on the stone, when the carpenter is working with the wood, Jesus Christ is there. True happiness, true satisfaction, the sense of God and the presence of Christ are all to be found in the day’s work, when that day’s work is honestly and conscientiously done. Brother Lawrence, the great seventeenth-century saint and mystic, spent much of his working life in the monastery kitchen among the dirty dishes, and he could say: ‘I felt Jesus Christ as close to me in the kitchen as ever I did at the blessed sacrament.’

(2) The lesson of this parable is, second, that it is worth any sacrifice to enter the kingdom. What does it mean to enter the kingdom? When we were studying the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10), we found that we could say that the kingdom of God is a state of society upon earth where God’s will is as perfectly done as it is in heaven. Therefore to enter the kingdom is to accept and to do God’s will. So, it is worth anything to do God’s will. Suddenly, as the man discovered the treasure, there may flash upon us, in some moment of illumination, the conviction of what God’s will is for us. To accept it may be to give up certain aims and ambitions which are very dear, to abandon certain habits and ways of life which are very difficult to lay down, to take on a discipline and self-denial which are by no means easy –in a word, to take up our cross and follow after Jesus. But there is no other way to peace of mind and heart in this life and to glory in the life to come. It is indeed worth giving up everything to accept and to do the will of God.
-William Barclay