God’s kingdom in parables
Jesus relates three parables on the kingdom of God: the hidden treasure, the pearl and the net. To understand these parables, we need to bring from the storeroom both the new and the old. The new represents enthusiasm while the old represents experience.
The kingdom of God will have all sorts of people, stories and experiences. It will have the most valuable treasure in her midst and will carry the poorest in its fight. It will have hidden graces and obvious faults and cracks. This combination will help boost and sustain the Church through many different ages and through many different cultures.
What Jesus is telling us through these parables is that when one discovers God, one must be ready to sacrifice everything in order to follow him, because God is the greatest of all treasures. And so, sacrificing everything for him is no real sacrifice but rather a long-term investment. Because any sacrifice for God will be compensated a hundredfold in terms of peace of heart and inner happiness. For God never lets us surpass him in generosity. We trust him and sacrifice everything for him. He repays a thousand ways we cannot even imagine. For as Creator of the universe he disposes of everything and can place everything at out feet.
What does this mean for us? We have to learn to search for the hidden treasure. What we see and have are not always the best. We have to dig deeper. We have to pay the price because everything has a price. It is just a question of how much we are worth or how much we are willing to sacrifice. We have to learn to choose and decide. Our lives will depend on what we keep and what we let go. And hopefully we will discover that what we seek, what we pay for and what we choose is nothing but only God, the only real treasure. In the end, to seek God is the greatest adventure, to find him is the greatest achievement and to possess him is the greatest joy.
These parables teach us about real faith which is not really about the doctrines we know. It is when you have nothing left and no other recourse and in desperation cling fast and call out to your and our God. It is when God is all you’ve got and you wait from scraps from his banquet, so to speak, and then realize God comes down with a feast for you. Faith is when you are treated unfairly and still continue to act like a human being, refusing to go down to the level of those who belittle you or want to silence you. Great faith is when you continue to believe in your cause against all odds. Real faith is when you are stubborn in not giving up hope, when you do anything for a loved one, when you sincerely believe in the goodness of your God and when you firmly believe that goodness will eventually triumph over evil and not give in to easy compromises and despair. The greatest faith is perhaps when you take as brothers and sisters even those people who are foreign to you or those whom you are not really particularly fond of or you even dislike. Great faith is when you love every other human being more than your pet dog.
This is the faith that characterizes the kingdom of God which Jesus tries to explain through the parables.