Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Week 17 Wednesday (Year 1) - 31 July 2013

Readings: Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 99; Matthew 13:44-46


The experience of Moses, becoming radiant as God is radiant, is a kind of transfiguration. We read in the First Letter of St John that we become like God when we see Him as He really is. This begins to happen already with Moses, with whom God speaks face to face, as with a friend. Moses becomes radiant and glorious to such an extent that the people are fearful of approaching him. It is only when he speaks (a moment comparable to Jesus addressing Mary Magdalene in the garden) that they are put at ease and listen to the words he brings to them from God.
The person who finds the treasure hidden in a field is, Jesus tells us, filled with joy. He is transformed, his life radically changed, as he goes and sells everything in order to buy the field. The merchant is in a different situation since his job is to look for pearls. He spends his life searching and eventually finds one of great value. We are not told about his joy but can presume it, as he too goes, sells all he has, and buys the pearl.
In one case we are told that the Kingdom of Heaven is like the treasure, in the other case we are told that the Kingdom is like the merchant searching. So the Kingdom is in the relationship between people and something of great value that gives them joy and becomes the exclusive focus of their lives.  It might come their way fortuitously or as a result of long searching. Either way it becomes the exclusive focus of their lives from that moment onwards. Likewise God became the exclusive focus of Moses’ life after his encounter with God in the burning bush. Likewise the Father was the exclusive focus of the life of Jesus from the earliest moments of his existence.
We are left with questions about the man who found the treasure and the merchant searching for pearls. What did they want these riches for? It seems it was enough to possess such great wealth. With the treasure of the Kingdom, or the treasure entrusted to Moses by God, we have also the words of Moses and of Jesus, to interpret, to explain, to teach us why the Kingdom is the treasure worth looking out for, why the pearl of great price worth searching for.

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