My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Are we a joyful people? I'm sure we all are since we love the Lord enough to be here every Sunday to worship him.

I have a question for you. What is the core and the essential message of our Lord Jesus Christ about? Anyone volunteer?

The core and the essential message of our Lord is all about the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God. It's repeated in the Gospel of Mathew 37 times and 86 times in all 4 Gospel

==> I consider the Gospel today as a straight talk from our Lord Jesus Christ to the disciples.

We just heard 4 different parables from our Lord explaining what the kingdom of God is like. The treasure hidden in the field, the pearl found by the merchant, the dragnet gathering both the good and the evil ones, and the scribe who is the head of his household.

Jesus told these parables to the disciples and he asked them "do you understand them?" Jesus is asking us the same question today "do you understand them?"

The man found a treasure in the field and hid it back underground in that field and then go home selling everything he has to buy the field, so that he can have the treasure. It sounds like this man is very cleverly cunning. Why didn't he just take the treasure? According to the Jewish law, unless you own the field, you cannot take anything from the field. The best way for us to understand this parable is that the treasure can only found in the field and the man could not afford to buy the treasure, but the field.

So, let think of this way: The treasure is the kingdom of heaven and the field is like Pope Francis said the Church is the "battle field". We cannot buy heaven nor we are deserved to be in heaven. However, if we use our given resources to feed the poor and the homeless, cloth the naked, visit the prisoner, and tend the elders, then, at the end of the age when Christ is coming again, we will be gathered into his family kingdom.

The question for us to reflect on is this: Have we found that treasure?

The fine pearl parable tells us that as soon as the merchant finds the fine pearl, he immediately stops searching. His whole life searching journey comes to a stop. Now, he puts all of his effort and energy on getting this pearl, even if he has to sell everything in exchange for it. This fine pearl has consumed him, his thought, his action and his whole being.

Our life is on a searching journey for a true happiness and our fine pearl is not a thing, but a person, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Have we found our Lord Jesus Christ as our fine pearl? If we do, everything we do and say is focusing on him and him alone.

Both of the parables gave us a sense that the joy which the person and the merchant found is not from within themselves, but from the treasure and the fine pearl. Our joy is also not from us, but from the Lord.

The dragnet parable Jesus warns us of the reality of the end of the age when he is coming again and the angles will be separate the righteous from the wicked. If Jesus is our treasure and our fine pearl, we're looking forward to this day since we will be welcome into his family kingdom.

The scribe parable Jesus pointed out to us the pathway that surely leading us find our true treasure is from the wisdom in the Word of God of both the old and the new testament. The perfect example is from the first reading today about King Solomon. when we come before the Lord to pray, we don't need to pray for long life, nor for riches, nor even for the life of your enemies, but pray for a wise and understanding heart. The wisdom found in the Word of God should be the only and the ultimate guideline and foundation for our life, not any man's ideology or philosophy.

Let us all make a commitment today that the Lord is our treasure and our fine pearl and all of our energy and focus are on him and him alone.

Pt Hoàng Thương

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