Matthew 13: 44-52
“out of joy goes and sells all that he has”
By. Fr. Eleuterio Mireles, CJM
For the past two Sundays, we have reflected on the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. In this parable discourse (third of the five major discourses found in Matthew), we find a total of seven parables that Jesus uses to teach his disciples the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (13:11). Below is a brief summary of our journey with the Word of God:
15th Sunday in OT
The Parable of the Sower (13: 1-9)
16th Sunday in OT
The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat (13: 24-30)
The Parable of the Mustard Seed (13: 31-32)
The Parable of the Yeast (13: 33)
17th Sunday in OT
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure (13: 44)
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price (13: 45-46)
The Parable of the Net (13: 47-50)
From this chart, we can conclude the following three themes (although not exhaustive):
1. The parable of the sower stands on its own in regards to the theme of God’s radical generosity (grace) that is sown in all types of soils (all people).
2. The parable of the weeds among the wheat and the net has a similar theme of God’s patience and tolerance versus our impatience and intolerance.
3. The parable of the mustard seed and the yeast has a similar theme of God’s small presence (God’s kingdom) in the world that through a continual process and progress expands to become the largest (in the words of St. John Eudes, “Jesus may live and reign in our hearts”).
Finally, we have the last two parables found in today’s gospel that will be the subject of our reflection; the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price.
In the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price, we also find a similar theme between them, which is that the kingdom of heaven being above all and because of this the disciples of Jesus must sacrifice everything else. We can see this in the actions of both the man and the merchant. The man who stumbles upon a buried treasure and the merchant who actively searches a pearl of great price, radically sell all that they have upon finding that which is priceless, the treasure and the pearl. This, for some, might seem as a radical decision. Why not keep both? Why must we sell all that we have, in order to keep what we have found? St. John Eudes can help us better understand these parables.
In his baptismal spirituality, St. John Eudes presents us with a twofold attitude known as renunciation and adherence. The condition of discipleship, says Jesus, is to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me (16:24). Following the very example of Jesus, would say St. John Eudes, who denied Himself to adhere firmly to His Father’s will, is the invitation that Jesus makes to all of His disciples. Therefore, we can say, that the attitude of both the man and the merchant in the parables was that of renunciation upon finding the true treasure and great pearl, which is Jesus Himself, the presence of the Kingdom of heaven here on earth.
In addition to this attitude of renunciation, we must also adhere to Jesus, which is the second attitude of a disciple. St. John Eudes invites us to cling to Jesus with joy because He is our all. In baptism, we have been given the greatest treasure of all, that is to become children of the Father, brother of Jesus Christ and temple of the Holy Spirit. When we have truly understood all of these things, we will be able to pray with St. John Eudes:
Jesus, without whom all is nothing, is my all.
Thus I want all things, though I want not one!
For, having nothing, then will I have all,
If you take all, and leave me Him alone!
(St. John Eudes)