Father John Chrzan St. Gilbert Weekly Pastor Message (847) 223-4731

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend's Gospel passage from Matthew (13:44-52) again recalls Jesus teaching in parables, today's topic being spiritual treasure.  He likens membership in the heavenly kingdom to "a treasure buried in a field," and also to a "pearl of great price."  Because pearls in the ancient world were so prized for their beauty and rarity as they are today, people could easily understand the point Jesus was conveying - no treasure is of greater value than a place in the kingdom of heaven!

Matthew's Gospel makes several references to the matter of acquiring heavenly treasure.  In Matthew 19:21, Jesus says, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven."  Elsewhere in Matthew (6:19-21) Jesus speaks even more pointedly on the subject; "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."  These are some of the most cutting words in all of Scripture because they challenge us to answer for what and where our true treasure is, for just as the Lord says, that's where our heart can be found.

Origen of Alexandria, one of the greatest thinkers of the Early Church, wrote a fascinating commentary on today's passage of Matthew's Gospel.  He said, "To the seeker after fine pearls may be applied the words, 'Seek and you will find,' and 'Everyone who seeks will find.'  If you ask what is to be sought, and what will be found by everyone who seeks for it, I say with all confidence: pearls - especially that pearl which will be acquired by those who give their all, who sacrifice everything for it, the pearl Paul meant when he said: 'I have accepted the loss of everything in order to gain Christ.'  'Everything' means beautiful pearls; 'to gain Christ' refers to the one pearl of great price."

This week as we put the Lord's Word into practice, let's make this our prayer - "Lord, in your great goodness, give us the gift of wisdom to know your true treasure.  Amen."

                                                 Peace,

Fr.  John