July 23, 2011

17th Sunday - A


By Chance of On Purpose

The verb "to find" can refer to the act of coming across something by chance or the act of looking for something with an intention.

In the two parallel parables of the treasure buried in the field and the pearl of great price, the second parable seems to suggest the use of the first meaning of "to find." The verb "to search" that Jesus uses in the second parable clearly indicates a sense of purpose.

It is true that the Kingdom of God is first and foremost a gift from God's unbounded love and generosity (think of the parable of the sower and the way he sows the seed). Nevertheless, we should not take it for granted.

The two characters in these parables operate with a clear sense of purpose, both while they are looking for the treasure or the pearl, and even more clearly so afterward. In both cases, Jesus emphasizes that the man "goes and sells all that he has" to buy what he has been searching for.

And what if we take these two characters as the figure of God? Doesn't God go out and search for each one of us with a clear sense of purpose? Doesn't God give up everything, including the only Son Jesus, for even just one lost sheep? (Matthew 18:12) And God does not stop his search until all have been found, as in Matthew 22, Jesus tells the parable of the king who sends his servants out to invite all people to his son's wedding banquet).

God for sure has a purpose in searching for me.

I did not come to know God and God's love by chance.

Do I look for God and the Kingdom of God with a sense of purpose?

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