Week of July 30, 2017

In the Gospel, three separate actions are happening. All of them are interconnected and related, yet each is very distinct.  The first is the easiest; it is finding.  Each person set out seeking something.  For one it was a buried treasure, for another it was a pearl of great price.  They began a journey by seeking.  What are we seeking?  Union with God? A sense of holiness and purpose? Happiness?  When we begin this first invitation of the parable, we must be honest about what we are seeking.  Self-awareness and understanding are keys to being truthful to what we are seeking.  It is one thing to say we are seeking happiness, but what is our definition of happiness?  Is it world peace?  Is it financial security for the rest of our life?  It is one thing to say we are seeking union with God, but what is our definition of that?  Are we called to be a monk who spends all day in front of the Blessed Sacrament? While there is nothing wrong with that and it is a noble calling, is that what we are called to do?  To find something one must go beyond just saying we are seeking some thing. One must spend time and energy looking for it, practicing it.  I have been searching for the perfect golf swing.  Most of the teachers I have had told me to hang it up.  But what I have learned is that when I let go and allow my body to trust the swing pattern I have learned, I feel most at peace with the swing.

The second action is selling.  It is not just selling; it states very clearly that they had to sell all that they had.  We all know we can sell off a few of our things.  We have closets full of stuff, basements full of memories and collectables.  Sometimes we think we might be willing to sell off everything. Then when it hurts to do so, we hold back from following through.  To sell all is to change a complete lifestyle.  It is to trust so much in what was found that nothing else matters.  Now this can happen when we buy something and then have buyer’s remorse.  In the moment it meant everything and then when we unpack it at home and we wonder, what was I thinking?  I can remember the time on vacation wanting to bring back a souvenir so that I would never forget the moment.  Or the time I purchased a Blackhawks jersey for the outdoor game so the experience would be immortalized, but then around a year later I was asking myself, did I really need that?  To sell all means it all goes, no buyer’s remorse, it all goes.  Are we willing to do that for God?

The third action is buying.  It is taking ownership of what we have found.  It is professing our faith boldly that this is it, this is the most consuming, all encompassing experience and it shall always fulfill eternally and will never be less than perfect in fulfillment.  Taking possession and ownership leaves nothing to blame on anyone else.  It is all you and what you bought.  This investment goes beyond the moment.  It is personally so fulfilling that there is no seeking for more or better once it comes into your possession.  Many in sports will say once is not enough.  One World Series, one Stanley Cup, one Super Bowl Championship is not enough.  One season of a  television show is not enough.  That is not what this sense of ownership is about.  It is so complete that there is no looking over one’s shoulder.  There is no regretting we didn’t seek more.  It is complete all within itself.  That type of buying is so different from our consumer mentality.  It is not more, more, more.

The Kingdom of God is found in all three actions.  It is seeking and being aware of what one seeks.   It is sacrificing and selling what has been held on to or held us back.  It involves an honesty of the things we hold sacred and what we do not want to sell.  It is a buying with abandonment, that allows nothing for the planning of a future, just a total consuming of what was bought.  It is a trusting in what was found and believing it is enough.

The Kingdom is complex; each action is simple in its movement, but complicated in its execution.  To find…sell…buy…is to be totally convinced of the will of God without doubt, holding nothing back.

May God grant us wisdom to seek wisely,

Reverend John J. Ouper