44″The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” 53When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place. 54He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? 55Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” 57And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” 58And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.
The rapid pace of these parables gives us the impression that Jesus is going from town to town teaching and healing, and that he is in a hurry. Two thousand years later, we can feel that same urgency as we look around and see all the work there is to do. At the same time, we see the precious pearl of the gospel of love in the midst of it all. As disciples, we are called to do all we can to find the gospel and share it as our greatest treasure. Nowhere in the disciples’ call does it say for us to try and make the world love us; instead, we are called to try and love the whole world for the sake of the gospel. It’s a beautiful gift to find this treasure of the gospel in our lives; it is our calling to use our whole lives to live its message out in this world. That is how we can share the precious pearl.
The Rev. Becca Stevens Author and Founder of Magdalene House Nashville, Tennessee
How do you see your community of faith collectively seeking the treasure and sharing it with the world?
Rev. Mary’s Response
One of the most impressive places I witnessed St. Michael’s collecting its treasure together is in the classroom while watching documentaries during our 2019 Lenten Series and the monthly continuation within the Documentary, Dinner, and Discussion gatherings. The compassion of individuals and the collective group was palatable and fragrant in the room. In other words, it was so strong one could almost taste it, smell it, but most certainly feel it. I know that it has led individuals to change but I wonder if as a community – as the leader of the community I missed something here. As The Rev. Stevens says, the hurriedness in this Gospel does reflect the hurriedness in our lives as well. Perhaps this is a call to slow down, focus, find which pearl we are to cultivate. For the issues are a little like unformed pearls. Irritants–irritants to society—Immigration issues, waste and recycling issues, etc. But I believe all these problems can be used to transform the world and make it beautiful.
Gracious and loving Lord, we give you thanks for the weeds in our lives, the precious pearls, and the small mustard seeds. Awaken in us the truth to see your love in all things and in all people, and give us the will to live out your love in this world today. Amen.
Crafton, Barbara Cawthorne. A Journey With Matthew: The 50 Day Bible Challenge . Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.