A Hidden Treasure

Matthew 13: 44-46
Jer. 15:10,16-21 / Ps 59:2- 4,10-11,17-18

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field…
(Matthew 13: 44)

No treasure has a greater worth
Than what our Savior gives for free;
You’ll never find it here on earth,
It’s paid for in eternity.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46)

Reflection

During the years that I served as barangay captain in a barrio where our farm is located, I met a former tenant of our farm who was known to have uncovered some six bars of gold while plowing our farm. He told me that since the bars were encased in lead, he did not know what metal they were, and a man he trusted took 5 of the bars “to be assayed” in the city, and never returned. He only discovered it was gold when he cut the last bar with a borrowed hacksaw. He sold one half for a tidy sum, but the other half was stolen from him. Later on, a lot of prospectors (“treasure hunters”) came to us contracting to look for the hidden Japanese treasure in our farm. Two brothers in their 70’s even invested their entire holdings, mortgaging a house and lot to invest in two deep excavations. They were willing to take a gamble because as young boys during the Japanese evacuation, they actually saw the Japanese soldiers one night, unloading cases of what they thought then were military supplies from two trucks down a deep hole somewhere in our property. One of those cases must have been hidden by a soldier to be recovered later on, but did not make it back. This was what our tenant farmer discovered. To this date, the hidden treasure remains a secret.

Perhaps it is best that treasure troves remain hidden and undiscovered. Most of us lose our good judgment when sudden fortune comes upon us. In many cases the ‘treasure’ even turns out to be a misfortune or tragedy in disguise. A taxi driver who won a fortune in the lottery lost his life when after a week of heavy partying, gunmen broke into his house to rob him. A couple who inadvertently received an overseas remittance of one million dollars due to a computer error became instant millionaires; but they also became fugitives of the law for felony and tax evasion. Their marriage broke up, and they ended up behind bars. The bank was willing to settle for half of the amount, but their sudden wealth had displaced their sense of values, and made them become too greedy and senseless.

What is the most priceless thing that we have ever discovered? It is our faith. And yet it never cost us anything. But it cost God everything – His very own beloved Son. Although God gives it freely, not everyone finds it, but only the deserving. It is a hidden treasure; hidden from those who seek treasures that can be “eaten by moth, woodworm, or rust, and thieves can break in and steal.” (Mt.6:19) But if, like Mary, Martha’s younger sister, “we choose the better portion, then it will not be taken away from us.” (Lk.10:42)

The material pleasures of this world are so fleeting that they can’t be worth spending so much time and effort for. In the end, gold’s evil luster will only blind us, preventing us from seeing life’s real treasure. Mankind’s history is replete with powerful and wealthy men whose lives amounted to nothing but infamy and shame because they chose to accumulate the world’s treasures. Like the rich fool whose major concern was how to store his bountiful harvest, God suddenly called him to give an account of his life, and the things he had accumulated, what good did they serve him then? “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Lk.12:16-21) God’s Word is the real treasure because it is eternal. And only those who ask for it, seek it, and knock on God’s door for it will be rewarded.

Lord, the pearl of great value is not something that we have to find, but is already a reality in our lives. Your beloved Son Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is among you.” (Lk.17:21) Since the time we asked Him to live in our hearts, we believe Your kingdom is already within us. Amen.

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