Jesus is that scribe-disciple who in his speaking draws on his own treasure, that is, on his intelligence, his heart, he draws ancient things from the Scripture of Israel, and proposes them to the men and women who follow him in a new form and in new ways, he actualizes them. What is old and what is new in Jesus blend in response to the new needs of those he encounters in the Church today. This is his wise approach: making the old new. Jesus is a wise person, he has a heart which can listen, observe and learn from daily life and from nature, and from these he draws images to make himself understood by his listeners. The wisdom of Jesus is not pure intellectualism, mere knowledge, it is the ability to fathom the depths, to delve and to illuminate the heart and the mind, to discern, it is intelligence in relationships. Jesus has a heart which feels the desire, the fears, the uncertainties and the doubts which inhabit the people he meets and through his words he offers them a new horizon, a road to take, he reveals to them something new in today’s life, which can seem ever repetitive and old.
“Have you understood all this?”. What does Jesus want to make us understand? What must we understand from the parables
he has told? Jesus does not simply narrate. He does not only speak, he is the Word and is here among us for this reason: he is “what is new” among men and women, in order to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. And he does not only do so with words but above all he reveals that he is what he is: the man Jesus. He is the emissary who reveals the will of the Father, who does not impose himself but invites, who points out a path so that each person may find his own treasure from which to draw something that is new in life.
Jesus knows that recognizing “what is new” is far from easy. It is hidden to human eyes, it is not showy, it is insignificant: it is the mustard seed, it is the small quantity of leaven hidden in the flour, it is a pearl which is born in an oyster, it is a treasure hidden in a field. Jesus, however, tells us that, even though it is small and concealed, it has an incredible power, it has the strength to leaven the measures of flour, to “take possession” of the heart of the human being and set it in motion, to prompt it to act. Where the human being’s treasure is, there is his heart. The treasure is what is deemed priceless, it is what surpasses every other good. The treasure is discovering what gives meaning to our lives, what orients and directs them. Possessing this pearl of great value means living and being to the full, it is living the vocation to which we are called.
Jesus therefore invites us to know our hearts, to know what is so precious to us as to make us leave everything else. In the parables recounted by Jesus there is a treasure, there is a pearl, but what Jesus places at the centre is the action that these can give rise to in the farmer or in the merchant. They make a choice. What counts is our response, the action provoked within us. The disciple is left the room for freedom to choose what is worth more and consequently to leave what is worth less. Having met Jesus, having recognized him as a new thing and as a treasure for their lives, the first disciples divest themselves of all things in order to follow him, something which the rich young man who questions Jesus in the Gospel is unable to do. The farmer and the merchant in the parables sell all they possess in order to let a greater treasure fill them and take possession of them. True gain lies in freeing oneself from the superfluous to make room for what gives us profound joy, the fullness of life.
The encounter with Jesus, with his Gospel, reveals some good news to us. It is this piece of good news which has the power to give our lives a new orientation, to change our existence totally, to give new meaning to what seems old and familiar. Preciousness is relative to the joy that is awakened within us: the joy procured for us by not failing in our vocation, because, as Simone Weil writes, “What counts is not to lack one’s own life”. To us the freedom of choice which, renewed in daily life, becomes perseverance in the sequela, our demanding fidelity, which meets with the welcome of God who waits patiently and does not judge, who opens his net for all. He knows the secrets of the heart and invites each one to take the road to leave behind his troubles, with the promise that the fruit of this choice will be a lasting, ever new joy. This is “what is new” in discovering love every day and in believing this love. Thus, together with the psalmist we may sing: “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil” (Ps 119:162).
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