From the Pastor – July 30, 2017

Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Mt. 13:44-46)

A few years ago, one of my friends who is in the construction business told me a story about a man who owned some property on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain.  It was basically swamp land that the man used for hunting and fishing.  At that usage, the land couldn’t have been worth more than $1000-2000 an acre.  And then something happened.  A survey found that there was a large vein of clay on the property.  With all of the coastal protection projects going on, the need for local clay is enormous.  Small amounts of clay are not that expensive, but clay is expensive to move in large quantities.  If your clay is located only a barge ride away from a project, rather than a 200 mile ride in an 18 wheeler, then your clay is the clay of choice, and very valuable.

My friend asked me how much I thought the clay might be worth on this 500-acre site.  I threw out a huge number: Five million dollars, I told him – effectively increasing the value of the land ten-fold.  Nope, he said, try $500,000,000 – FIVE HUNDRED MILLION dollars.

Now imagine that you had the opportunity to buy that swamp property for it’s value – $500,000 – and sell the clay for FIVE HUNDRED MILLION dollars.  You would mortgage your house, sell your car, cash out your bank account, beg, borrow and do anything to buy that property.

That’s how the parable of the treasure in the field would go today.  And Jesus tells us that we should have that same urgency obtaining the Kingdom of Heaven.  We need to see that every physical possession we have is of little value against what Jesus offers us: the forgiveness of our sins and Eternal Life.

Not to do too much moralizing, but we can probably examine ourselves and realize we spend much more time on our worldly lives and possessions than on our search for the Kingdom of God.  Even priests and religious who pray much will probably spend more time eating and recreating than praying.  The key isn’t always “time,” but where the heart is.  We should always have it on our minds that there is a “treasure” buried in a field; there a great reward available for us.  And it’s not a billion dollars worth of clay, it’s a lifetime with Jesus on earth, and the reward of everlasting life in Heaven.  As Jesus tells us earlier in Matthew:  “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be. (Mt. 6:31).  If the story about the billion dollars worth of clay causes us to think how amazing it would be to have a billion dollars, then we might have our hearts set on the wrong treasure!  Think about that one.  Maybe there’s a treasure waiting for us at Adoration on Thursday morning or Tuesday evening instead….

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty