Today’s readings can be found here.
I don’t think there’s any more effective imagery than that which Jesus uses to describe what the kingdom of heaven consists of:
“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.”
To a distorted narrative that makes us look at faith from a sacrificial perspective in which the act of believing seems to be the renunciation of life itself, Jesus contrasts the image of a treasure that by its very nature represents an abundance that has the capacity to change the lives of those who find it.
And it’s precisely when we see it as a treasure that we’re willing to give everything away, because what drives us isn’t the anxiety of sacrificing ourselves to persuade God to love us. Rather, it’s the joy of understanding that what matters is something others can’t see, but which is very clear to us because we’ve received the grace to perceive it.
We must be wary of those who believe and are always sad. Only joy is a sign of a faith that coincides with Christ’s message.
Sad believers usually become rigid and unforgiving with others. Those who are joyful, on the other hand, experience more joy in introducing others to the same experience.
“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.”
It seems to me that this is how the radical nature of the Gospel should be understood: as an excellent deal made by someone who understands business. The great Christian values, which in the eyes of the world seem like unbearable sacrifices, are livable only by those who have had the grace to recognize that it’s a great deal.
The Church should show “the hidden bargain” and not just repeat to the bitter end what is perceived only as renunciation.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.