I once bought the car I desired on a balloon scheme. This scheme allowed me an affordable, much smaller monthly instalment until the final month of the loan term when I had to pay a hefty lump sum. Distracted by the prize, I postponed the worry about the price. I gleefully drove off in a brand new car.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field”.
There are a few people, too few, who fulfil this. They generously give up a life for themselves to take up a life in service for God. These are our priests and religious who have sold everything to buy the field. For the rest of us we remain outside the monastery walls very likely not even wanting to look in until we have some sort of a conversion experience.
The difference about this treasure hidden in the field is that God really want us to find it. The Holy Spirit works constantly and tirelessly in our lives to bring us an experience of God in our personal lives. He look to deliver a boost, to bring about that convincing moment in our heart when wisdom crystallise for us to want to trade our life for a new life in Christ. When we have a conversion experience, we are willing to sell everything to buy the field.
The reality of life is that this isn’t quite so easy to transact. A lot of what we have to sell is entangled in our vocation and relationships. We are not quite ready to drop our nets while our children are still at school or when we need income to care for our aging parents. Responsibilities, not greed at all, dictate that we must continue to trade outside the monastery walls, in the market place of the secular world. Much as we like to, we cannot immediately buy the field. And so we think.
Spiritual conversion takes place in our heart. It is in the heart where the transaction to sell everything to buy the field takes place. We will all continue with our life vocation as parent and child but a conversion in the heart simply mean to place God in the centre of the field with our life revolving and evolving around him.
Life will begin to spiritually evolve when our desires for earthly things are lessened. The Spirit will work to loosen our hands gripping fearfully on the wheel of a new car thinking that it will bring us happiness. Like the balloon scheme we are asked to convert our lives little by little in small instalments until we are ready to pay a bigger lump sum to live a new and fuller life in faith. This is God’s patience and generosity for us.
We have time for “the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time”. But we really do not know how much time we have. Sell, and buy the field before the balloon burst.
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time