In Sunday’s Gospel we are told of a man who finds a hidden treasure buried in a field and that he goes and sells all he has to buy the filed in order to have that treasure. Why is it hidden and what does that mean for us?
To say that the treasure, an image for the Kingdom of Heaven, is hidden is to indicate that the gift and glory that God has waiting for us is not something we can fathom. Scripture says,
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has ever conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Cor 2:9)
Yes, what God has prepared for us are joys unspeakable and glories untold; a Kingdom, a place and vision so glorious that it cannot be described or understood by us now. Oh the glory of what waits, the heights and depth of it, and the ecstasy of beholding the beautiful, magnificent and wondrous face of God, He who has made us for Himself. We have an infinite longing in our hearts that this world can never supply, no matter how vast its offerings. One day, if we are faithful, our eyes will close on this world and, having been purged of our last attachments and imperfections they will open to the beautiful face of God and every longing will be filled. We will join the great dance of Love that is the life of the Trinity, that which the Eastern Church calls the perichoresis. And the Communion of saints will be ours as well, a union and intimacy with each other and every person that is unimaginable now. This is what we were made for and this is what God offers.
But now, much of this is hid from our eyes, from our understanding. Some of us get foretastes of it in deep contemplative prayer, but even this is a distant glimpse of the glory that waits.
And this hidden quality of the Kingdom of Heaven, like a buried treasure, is also what most derails us in our pursuit of it. There is an old saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” And this is a way of saying that a pleasure that is currently available to me now is deemed more satisfying than some future pleasure, even if it is far greater than what I have now. The trinkets of the world that are present to us now too easily mesmerize us and make us dismissive of some future glory that we cannot see and must trust God that it is ours if we are faithful.
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