Gospel Reflection for Sunday the 26th of July 2020
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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus tells a parable of a man who finds a treasure in a field. Once he finds it, he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field. Jesus Himself is the treasure in the parable, the great treasure. Just as the treasure is found in a field, Jesus is found in places and moments of grace. A common way that people come into their faith is on retreat or when they go on pilgrimage. A retreat or pilgrimage is like a field of Grace. In this field a person may experience an atmosphere of deep peace or maybe the person sees the joy of those around them and through this experience of grace they come to discover that the source of that peace and joy is Jesus, the treasure hidden in the field of grace.
Also, sometimes there are moments in our lives that lead us into this field of grace where the treasure of Jesus is waiting to be found. These moments can be moments of happiness, but oftentimes they can be moments of sadness. This is how I discovered Jesus, the treasure in the field. Thirteen years ago we had a very sudden and tragic death in our family. It was a real time of darkness and pain. In these moments we either go one of two ways, we can turn away from God or turn towards Him into the field of grace. In that moment I turned towards God and into the field of His grace (nothing to do with me, through the grace of other people’s prayers!) and in that moment I prayed my first prayer that was really from the heart, asking for His help in this dark time. In that time, I really experienced Jesus, Jesus as the saviour, Jesus as the one who carries us when we can no longer stand on our own two feet. Through this moment of sadness, I was led into the field of grace, and discovered Jesus, the hidden treasure.
Were told that after the man discovers the treasure hidden in the field he hides it again and goes off happy. Why would the man hide the treasure again now that he has found it? Because the field is not his own and everything in the field is not his property until he becomes the owner of the field. In the same way we can discover the treasure of Jesus in the field of grace but if sin and selfishness lord over our lives, we can’t claim to rest in the field of God’s grace and neither can we claim to possess to treasure of a deep personal relationship with Jesus. But at the same time the man goes off happy, why is that? Because he has experienced the treasure in the field and in the same way when we truly experience the love of Jesus, we experience true happiness, a happiness that is not fleeting or passing but a happiness that we experience at the deepest level of our being. The happiness the world offers us depends on circumstances going our way, for example, Liverpool won the league so I’m happy, if Liverpool didn’t win the league, I wouldn’t be happy. But for the person who experiences the treasure of the love of Jesus, they have discovered a happiness that is not based on the circumstances of their life going their way. It’s a happiness that is unchangeable and eternal.
The treasure of the love of Jesus is also a happiness that is worth surrendering our lives to completely. That is what the man in the Gospel does, he “sells everything he owns and buys the field”. He surrenders. In the same way were called to sell everything, to surrender our lives to the love of Jesus so that He, the treasure in the field, truly becomes the Lord and centre of my life and I become more and more conformed to Him. Sometimes we can hold back from surrendering to Jesus because we fear what the Lord might ask of us. But it’s to remember that the Lord loves us and only wants what’s best for us. Jesus gives us more than enough grace to do whatever He asks of us. The more we surrender to Jesus, the more we come into possession of the field of grace, that life of grace in our souls. The more we surrender, the more we take possession of the treasure in the field of grace, a deep personal relationship with Jesus.
– Fr Jaimie Twohig