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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Hidden Treasure: Find it and have everything else, says Fr. Ebido - ITREALMS

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 26/20) 

Your daily blessing: May the Almighty God surprise you with joy as He grants you an unmerited favor this week! Amen.
Narration: A spiritual Master was so impressed by the spiritual progress of his disciple that he left him on the bank of the river in a little hut to continue living as he was taught. After his bath each morning, the disciple spreads out his loin cloth in the sun to dry. It was his only possession. 

One day he woke up to see rats have torn it into pieces. So he had to beg for another from the villagers. To stop the rats he got a cat. It got rid of the rats, but then, he now has to beg for milk for the cat. He then thought, “it is too much trouble begging.” So he got a cow. But now, he has to beg for fodder to feed the cow. He then thought, “it is easier to till the ground and grow fodder around the hut.” However, this shortened his time for meditation. So, he hired laborers, and it became a farm. 

Now, the problem is supervising the laborers. So he got himself a wife to keep an eye on them. Before long, he became one of the richest men in the village. Then, many years after, his Master came along to see how he was doing. He was shocked to see a palatial mansion where a hut had been. He asked, “is this not where my disciple used to live? Just then, his former disciple appeared. “What is the meaning of all this my son?” asked the Master. “You are not going to believe this sir,” said the man, “but there was no other way I could keep my loin-cloth!” [- Anthony De Mello]

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In the Gospel reading of today (Matt 13:44-52), Jesus tells a series of parables of the kingdom: he compares it to “a treasure buried in a field” which a person finds and sells all that he has and buys the field. He also compares it to a pearl of great price which a merchant finds and sells all to buy it.

Most of us only have an imaginative ‘vision’ of the “hidden treasure” or “pearl of great price” such that it fails to captivate our attention long enough to sustain a simple lifestyle or detachment necessary to arrive at the deeper reality – the real vision. 

Only a few (like St. Paul or St. Francis of Assisi) had the privilege of a real vision of the ‘hidden treasure’ as their starting point. 

In the first reading (Rom 8:28-30), Paul says, God “knew beforehand” those he has ‘chosen’ (“predestined”) to be his adopted children – to be conformed to the image of Christ. 

“Those he predestined, he also called, and those he called, he also justified, and those he justified, he also glorified.” This is a deep mystery; our call and progression is always hidden in mystery. 

This informs why Catholic spiritual theology speaks of three conversions or transitions moments to our full transformation. 

In the first reading (1 Kings 3:5-12), Solomon prayed for wisdom to enable him discern right from wrong, and to conduct his affairs properly as King. 

We need to pray for wisdom to enable us to order our life properly, and conduct our affairs according God’s plan at the ‘different stations’ of our life. 

Wisdom initiates our ‘conversions’, for without grace from above, we will all end up like the disciple in that story, who in an attempt to solve the problem of a torn loincloth, ended up in a mansion. These are powerful imageries or metaphors that point to how easily we get derailed in our search for the hidden treasure by more compelling ‘illusions’ of “life-goals”.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you are the hidden treasure, the pearl of great price, and the kingdom that we seek. Help me to find you when I look for you. I yearn for you! I seek for nothing else, for when I find you, I have everything I need. Amen.

🙏🏽©️Fr Augustine Ebido, O.P.

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