The teenager lost a one of his expensive gas permeable contact lens while playing football in the driveway. After a brief, fruitless search, he gave up. But his mother took up the cause and within minutes found the lens.
“How did you do that?” he asked.
“We weren’t looking for the same thing,” she explained. “You were looking for a small piece of plastic. I was looking for €300.”
The search for the Gospel “treasure” and “pearl” begins with understanding, first, the real value of what we are searching for and the investment of time and energy required. Sometimes we are surprised at the “treasure” we take for granted, the “pearl” in our midst that we overlook – and at other times the “treasure” we gave our all to obtain left us impoverished, the “pearl” we moved heaven and earth to possess cost us dearly. As Solomon understood in asking the Lord for wisdom and “an understanding heart” (Reading 1), the “treasures” and “pearls” of lasting value are the things of God: the love of family and friends, the support found in being part of a community, the sense of joy and fulfilment found in serving and giving for the sake of others.
All three of Jesus’ parables in today’s Gospel are about seeking – and the hard work required if we are to possess the “treasure” we discover. In the end, the easy is not usually worth the time; the cheap eventually reveals its real worth. But that which is of real value, and that which gives our lives purpose and meaning requires commitment, humility and sacrifice. The parables Jesus tells into today’s Gospel challenge us to engage our attention on the things of God and not be caught up with the lesser, ephemeral things of the world. The “treasures” and “pearls” of God are not found in the things of the earth but in the values of heaven: love, justice, mercy, peace. True wisdom begins with tirelessly seeking such treasures that our lives may be enriched by the things of God.
In order to attain such treasure, may we possess the grace of the Gospel speculator: grace that transcends logic, efficiency, and self-interest, grace that sees beyond the currency of the earth to gain the riches of God: love, justice, mercy, peace.