We are finite and never masters of our destiny, so we beseech God to satisfy our many needs. But alas, when we pray, we highlight a whole gamut of material needs and put spiritual needs on the back burner. Hence, Jesus’ classic declaration: “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes out from the mouth of God.” Or as today’s psalm says, “The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”

In striking contrast, King Solomon in the First Reading (1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12) is one whose prayer was pleasing to God’s ears. The child servant king, who replaced his father David, was at Gibeon, then the most important high place of prayer (the temple of Jerusalem was yet to be built). At its altar he presented a thousand burnt offerings and in a dream the Lord urged him to ask for his heart’s desire. Did he ask for more power, health and wealth, name, fame and influence? None of that. All he wished for was an understanding mind to govern his people and an ability to discern between good and evil – in short, wisdom, which for sure isn’t the same as mere knowledge.

What a wonderful pearl of wisdom for our administrators, parents, teachers and other leaders holding positions of responsibility to acknowledge and cherish! For this end, it is of the essence that we first see life in a proper perspective, discerning the true, the good and the beautiful. We ought to have a clear direction and the right priorities. We ought also to realise our limitations and let God be in charge. In the ultimate analysis, all signs will point to Heaven, where our real treasure lies.

While the Gospel (Mt 13: 44-52) is still in parable mode on yet another Sunday, the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl form a striking pair showing the need to aspire to the Kingdom of Heaven. The fact is we would do anything to attain the Kingdom (read God) if only we had understood its perennial value; everything that the world has to offer would then pale into insignificance. For example, if the Kingdom were a “treasure hidden in a field”, one would endure great sacrifices to buy the field for the sake of the treasure! Similarly, a connoisseur merchant, on finding a rare pearl, would do all that it took to lay his hands on it.

But that is not all. The parable about the Kingdom is dovetailed into another – that of the Fishing Net – which is pure eschatology. This time around, the Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a fishing net that has caught fish of all kinds: the bad will be instantly thrown away. Only an unusually dull-witted or spiritually dead person will fail to see that that is what will become of us if we do not fall in line with God’s commandments: like the weeds that will be bundled together and burned, and the fish that will be thrown away, we might have a similar fate on the last day.

Are we ready to accept God’s plan for us as individuals and as a race, or are we going to remain a deceptively all-knowing and self-serving generation? Readiness to align our will to God’s and to fall in line with His plan is a basic attitude to be cultivated before formulating any prayer. There is no denying that God knows best and, as St Paul puts it (Rom 8: 28-30), “all things work for good for those who love God.” So, why not acknowledge God as the alpha and omega of our life, the be-all and end-all of our very existence?

In the Lord’s Prayer we say: “Thy Kingdom come…”. What does it mean? If we have properly understood Jesus’ teaching, we will not hesitate to apply the wealth of the Scriptures to everyday situations. God will be our constant companion, and we will proclaim Him to one and all. That will be to seek first the Kingdom of God; and we can be sure that whatever else we need will be given unto us (Cf. Mt 6: 33). Oh, what a world of difference between divine and human wisdom! Can we commit to being like householders ever bringing out old and new treasures to the fore?

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