‘The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off in his joy, sells everything he owns and buys the field. ‘Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.
The men and women who acted on these words of the Lord are rightly held up to us as models of holiness.
How many people have been deeply disappointed by taking risks in the things of this world, which in the end do not live up to their promises of happiness! How many times have we placed our hope in a certain person, and then, since no one is perfect, we were disappointed because he or she did not live up to our expectations!
But not so with the Kingdom of God: the treasure found in the field is God Himself! To find Him means to possess everything; in Him there are no frauds, so we will never be disappointed. Having found Him, we can, without fear of being mistaken, correspond to the heart’s deepest longing to give ourselves without limits to the One who is Absolute.
Indeed, it is God who awakens this longing in us, calling us to abandon ourselves completely to him. The Lord’s disciples responded to this call; the rich young man, on the other hand, while leading a good life in obedience to God’s commandments, was not able to take the step that the Lord was inviting him to take: “If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19:21). This young man had a treasure apart from God: it was his riches to which his heart was attached, so that his giving could not be total.
God is the only one who can correspond to our longing for absolute love and truth, for He Himself sowed it in our soul. That is why, as St. Augustine said, “our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee, O God”.
Today’s world offers us so many pleasures as substitutes, distracting man in his search for the true, the essential, the immutable. In modern times, in which relativism has proliferated, the question of the one absolute truth is more and more oppressed. Instead, half-truths are presented, which can never quench man’s thirst for truth. He is told to enjoy his life without questioning the deeper meaning of his existence. In fact, he is presented with the joys of life as the goal of life. This is how an atheist advertisement in Europe put it: “God probably doesn’t exist; stop worrying and enjoy life”.
Perhaps this is precisely why the Lord allows that sometimes our earthly goals and expectations are not fulfilled and that we experience that they cannot give us true peace. God allows us to feel the inner emptiness that results from a life that is not focused on Him, thus reminding us that when man turns away from God, he returns more and more to that nothingness from which he sprang.
At this point, the words of today’s Gospel can touch us deeply. It is possible to leave everything behind in order to find what really matters, namely God’s infinite love, in which we find our deepest home! St. Paul considered everything as rubbish “of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:8) and the book of Sirach tells us that everything is “vanity of vanities” (cf. Eccl 1:1) and that only “God does will be for ever” (3:14).
In the true encounter with God, everything is transformed and everything is given its rightful place. It is from this perspective that we can understand today’s Gospel. Considering God’s infinite love, which deserves the first place in our life, everything else must be subordinate to it. Who could put a temporary and imperfect love before God’s infinite and absolute love? Only a fool would do so!
It may be foolish for the world to abandon everything for God’s sake, to live fully in his love, but in God’s eyes this is the great wisdom and the real meaning of our existence. Indeed, when the hour of our death comes, what will we take with us?
So the word of the Lord that we hear today is a wonderful invitation to abandon ourselves completely to his love. We can always safely count on this love, as long as we do not close our hearts, depriving God of the possibility to make us feel it. It is worth leaving everything behind for the sake of this love! We have been created for it!