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Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Matthew 13:44-53.

Parable of the Treasure in a Field – Matthew 13:44-46

[Jesus said:]

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

This is the first of the last three parables of the discourse

In the unsettled conditions of Palestine in Jesus’ time, it was a usual practice among the rich people to safe guard their valuables by burying them in the ground.

Parable of the merchant searching for fine pearls – Matthew 13:45-46

[Jesus said:]

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.

When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.

This is the second of the last three parables of the discourse.

These two parables have the same point.

The person who finds a buried treasure and the merchant who finds a pearl of great price sell all that they have to acquire these finds.

This is similar to the one who understands the supreme value of the kingdom gives up whatever he must to obtain it.

The joy with which this is done is made explicit in the first parable, but it may be presumed in the second also.

Parable of the Fishnet – Matthew 13:47-50

[Jesus said:]

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.

When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.

Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous

and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

This is the concluding parable of the discourse. The parable of the fishnet resembles the explanation of the parable of the weeds with its stress upon the final exclusion of evil persons from the kingdom.

Treasures New and Old – Matthew 13:51-53

[Jesus said:]

“Do you understand all these things?”

They answered, “Yes.”

And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

Matthew typically speaks of the understanding of the disciples.

This saying about the Christian scribe

  • And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” ( Matthew 13:52)

cannot be taken as applicable to all who accept the message of Jesus. While the Twelve are in many ways representative of all who believe in him, they are also distinguished from them in certain respects. The church of Matthew has leaders among whom are a group designated as “scribes”

  • Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, ( Matthew 23:34)

Like the scribes of Israel, they are teachers. It is the Twelve and these their later counterparts to whom this verse applies.

The scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven” knows both the teaching of Jesus (the new) and the law and prophets (the old) and provides in his own teaching both the new and the old as interpreted and fulfilled by the new.

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