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Notes from Fr. Vitalis

Dear Parishioners,

In the last few weeks we have listened to parables which were meant to help us grasp the nature of God’s kingdom that Jesus has proposed. He has tried to convince us of the importance of the happening that is now in process of realization. He has also tried to stress the seeming modesty of the whole affair, thereby helping us to draw some sensible conclusion about it.

In today’s gospel, the parable of the treasure buried in a field urges us to seek out the kingdom and accept it wholeheartedly. So far, acceptance of the kingdom may  seem to be an optional thing, however desirable it might be. We glimpse the fact that the kingdom is indispensable. Each of today’s parables stresses this point in its own particular way.

We see in the two parables: A man who finds the treasure in the field and the merchant who discovers a rare pearl “went and sold all… and bought.” Both parables breathe the atmosphere of joy, precipitate action, and preference for one thing above all others. Everything else seems unimportant by comparison. So, they sold everything to make this new-found investment. We see in them the joy of an exciting discovery. It fulfills all their aspirations. What is your aspiration? What fulfils you? Is your faith in Jesus part of your life’s fulfillment? What is your treasure? Are you still in search of your pearl? What are you willing to give up? One cannot possess anything else when one possesses the kingdom.

The kingdom that Jesus presents to us is all-embracing and totally absorbing. Possession of it and service to it allows for no turning back, no possession of other things. Yet for all this, the choice seems to be made with a happy, light-hearted spirit. There should be no element of constraint or pressure. Remember, Jesus said that his “yoke is easy, and burden light.”

The parable of the drag net; comforting at first, it soon sounds a tragic note. The kingdom is like a net cast into the sea; it will not be drawn up until it is filled. Everyone will have their chance to find the priceless treasure. But at the end of this long period of patient waiting, when it is clear that everyone has had a chance to choose freely, the net will be hauled on board and the sorting will begin. “That is how it will be at the end of the world,” says Jesus.

Here we see the risk of rejecting or opting against the kingdom. Those who refuse the kingdom; the wicked, will be hurled “into the fiery furnace, where they will wail and grind their teeth.” For those who say that there is no hell, here is your proof. Let us not fool ourselves by this idea that hell is incompatible with God’s goodness.

However, we do know that the kingdom of God is all about life. Outside of it lies death, which is pure torture for anyone because it stands in radical contradiction to his most basic makeup and orientation. We cannot be forced to opt for the kingdom. God has made us for himself and has granted us the inner light to seek him in freedom.                                                                                                                                                      

For those who accept God’s offer, the situation is a happy one. “God makes all things work together for the good of those who have been called according to his desires.”

Like Solomon, let us ask for wisdom and understanding from Him who called us from darkness into a marvelous light. We must keep going back to God’s word, which we already know, so that it may continue to nourish us further and give us new life.                                                                                                                                 

Grace and peace to you,

Fr. Vitalis Anyanike