Seventeenth Sunday of the year 2017
Today three more parables of the kingdom â€“ all in their way quite curious â€“ for there is far more than a simple story â€“ there are a number of questions and speculations â€“
The treasure buried in a field â€“ it may even be a story based on a recent event â€“ the Old Testament alone shows that over the years, many parts of the countryside had been fought over â€“ and it is more than possible that at a time of danger, a farmer has buried treasure in a field â€“ but has been overwhelmed by events â€“ and is never able to return to recover it â€“ but who in fact does the treasure belong to? â€“ you will notice that the purchaser of the field does not reveal the source of his new wealth but hides it again â€“ and buys the field â€“ possibly it will remain a secret source of wealth â€“ gradually recovered and spent over the years â€“ nothing public as there is risk that the previous owner of the land will negate the contract, the previous owner of the treasure may stake a claim, or even the State may intervene â€“
And then the pearl of great price â€“ again a curious story â€“ this is not something casual â€“ it is a merchant looking for fine pearls â€“ someone with knowledge and experience â€“ but he really stake everything on a single item â€“ with all the risks that this involves â€“ that it might be damaged or flawed â€“ and the problems of security whilst he owns it â€“ even if he hopes to sell it on at a later date at a substantial profit â€“ over and over again, in the matters in which I am involved â€“ the norm is that risks should be reasonably spread.
Perhaps the image of the fisherman sorting his catch is easier â€“ putting the good ones in a basket and throwing the rubbish away.
And then the final image of the householder â€“ bring out from his storeroom things both old and new.
So a fascinating collection of images â€“ all prefaced with the words â€“ the kingdom of heavenÂ is like â€“ I would remind you that this is not the Church â€“ this is something more formal, that will come later with the promise to Peter â€“ I will build my Church â€“ this is something more general â€“ the presence of the love of God in the world â€“ and the way in which individuals will react to it â€“ and I think that looking at these parables carefully â€“ one can see that at times it will be high risk â€“ but also times, when at least partially people will get it wrong â€“ both the treasure hunter and the pearl merchant think that they have discovered something of enormous value â€“ their fortunes have been made and they are secure for the rest of their lives â€“ but beyond this they are taking enormous risks â€“ and the question must be asked can this justified â€“ what if they had acted differently – Â Â Â