On top of being the scribe who is trained in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus embodies also the supreme value that this kingdom is.
The teaching is clear that the kingdom of heaven is the supreme value. For there is this saying: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things will be yours besides.” And the parables of the buried treasure and of the pearl of great price repeat to the disciples the teaching.
In these stories, the one who finds the treasure and the one who finds the pearl do the same. That is to say, they sell with joy all they have to own what they have found. And thus do the true disciples act.
In the first place, they are full of joy as the Virgin Mary. They are so, since God looks in a kind way upon these lowly folks. He lets these simple folks know the things of the kingdom. They get to find it. Humans do not bring it about. Nor does the place where it is. Only due to Providence that the little folks can find it.
The true disciples are full of joy, in the second place, for the kingdom that they find is of supreme value. So, they are right to be firm in their wanting to exchange all they have for the kingdom. They bet their lives on it, ready to give up their bodies and shed their blood. They thus follow the one who embodies all the values of the kingdom.
Hence, the true disciples are slaves no more nor do they worry. That is why they feel free for the kingdom, so that God may reign. That is to say, so that his gifts may win out on earth: wisdom, understanding heart, justice, love, mercy, communion. So that the world may be more just, blissful, human, as it heads to the total salvation in heaven.
To take the kingdom of God as the supreme value
We say we are Jesus’ disciples today. But do we like more than all things and ask in earnest that God’s kingdom come? Is it plain to others that we are full of zeal? For zeal is the flame of the fire that the love of God is (SV.EN XII:251). Do we share Jesus’ and St. Vincent’s commitment to mercy? Even being old does not excuse us from helping the poor (SV.EN XI:123).
And might not our religious talk and walk be boring and a routine as that of the scribes and the Pharisees? These are stuck in their old traditions. And they stay closed to the Good News of the kingdom that Jesus is as he fulfills the law and the prophets. They rush to separate the good from the bad, and they waste their time, strength and resources as they judge others. Hence, they claim the right that is the Supreme Judge’s alone.
Lord Jesus, grant us to live by the supreme value of the kingdom of heaven that gives strength and zest to true disciples. And make our words and works have the kingdom as their source and reach it as their end. Let us not be like the wicked who gnashes his teeth when he sees one who gives to the poor. Instead, let us love God and know that he will make all things work for our good.
30 July 2023
17th Sunday in O.T. (A)
1 Kgs 3, 5. 7-12; Rom 8, 28-30; Mt 13, 44-52