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The WORD. The TRUTH.

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The “book of parables” (Mt 13) ends with three short parables, all exclusively Matthean. They are drawn from the everyday experience of three non-elite groups in Jesus’s world: farmers, merchants, and fishermen (vv44-50). Matthew concluded it with a logion appreciating the old (the law and the prophets) as well as the new (Jesus’ teaching, v52), upholding thus the validity of the Jewish Torah while calling the Christian community to go beyond it (cf 5:17-20).

In the first two, Jesus likens the Kingdom to something precious: “thēsauros” (θησαυρος), treasure, and “margaritēs” (μαργαρίτης), pearl (of great price). Burying valuable objects was a common practice in antiquity,(for example, a harried landowner in a country beset by invasion and turmoil). Retrieving them was also common. Forgetting about the treasure or dying without telling one’s heirs or before being able to retrieve it are possible explanations for the finding of treasure by those who do not own it. But in vv 44-46 the key word is joy- finding God or God’s reign brings great joy, the treasure which is hidden from the faithless. (cf Solomon’s choice of the gift of wisdom in 1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12). This great find leads to the corresponding response of selling everything to have it, underlining the costliness of the Kingdom. For Jesus and the disciples, the claims of the kingdom are absolute. As Jesus gave himself completely, the disciples are required no less: the disciple must match his teacher’s effort.

The third parable (vv47-50) fittingly closes the chapter for it anticipates the end time, the harvest, the gathering of all kinds, good and bad, Jew and gentile, when the final judgment will be made, similar to the parable of the wheat and the weeds (cf 13:24-30, 36-43), with the attendant final separation of the just and the unjust at the Parousia where the angels see to the severe punishment of the wicked for ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand (13:13).

Discipleship (Christian life), is not a question of denial and hardship in search of a good; rather, it is the good in hand, of an inestimable worth that prompts whatever sacrifice is needed. Let us ask therefore for the gift of wisdom to value God’s reign and the following of Christ as the hidden treasure, the pearl of great prize, the greatest good, besides which all other things fade in comparison. Amen.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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