Year A 17th Sunday: Matthew 13:44-52

The picture of today is an illustration to the verses 44-46. We spoke about the picture that illustrates the last verses (51-52) on the Sunday of Pentecost.


13:44   'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found;

he hides it again, goes off in his joy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

13:45   'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls;

13:46   when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

13:47   'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that is cast in the sea

and brings in a haul of all kinds of fish.

13:48   When it is full, the fishermen bring it ashore; then, sitting down,

they collect the good ones in baskets and throw away those that are no use.

13:49  This is how it will be at the end of time:

the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the upright,

13:50  to throw them into the blazing furnace,

where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

13:51   'Have you understood all these?' They said, 'Yes.'

13:52  And he said to them, 'Well then,

every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven

is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom new things as well as old.'


These parables are the last ones of Jesus’ discourse of parables’ (Matthew 13:1-52). All these parables are about the Kingship of Heaven.

The first two parables compare God’s Kingship with a treasure or a very precious pearl, image of the most desirable thing in my life. God’s Kingship means that love, charity, mercy, grace, forgiveness are the most important and the most desirable things in human life. All other things are subordinate to that. I can ask myself if... or how far that is true in my life.


In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus speaks about ‘treasures’ several times. In the Sermon on the Mount he says (6:19-20), ‘Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, for these treasures will have an end. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, they will not go by.’ Treasures in heaven: that exactly means love, charity, mercy, grace, forgiveness, in short, the virtues which make that heaven is really heaven. And Jesus continues (6:21), ‘Wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too.’ My heart, is it really coping with the virtues of heaven?

I hear the word ‘treasure’ again in the last parable of the householder. Unfortunately our translation doesn’t give the word ‘treasure’ but ‘storeroom’. The householder is the one who represents Jesus in our world. They fill their hearts with old and new things from heaven. Doing so their hearts become a treasure. Their behaviour is a blessing for those around them, because hand out to them from their ‘treasure’ of love, charity, mercy, grace, forgiveness...

Picture Meditation

This picture illustrates the verses 44-46. The artist divides his painting into three parts. In the bottom right corner we recognize the story of the merchant with the pearls.

In the top left corner we see how somebody is paying money for a map that indicates where a treasure is to be found. But what happens in the diagonal from bottom left to top right? Two naked persons who are touching each other slightly and who are glad to meet each other. The white circle in the centre gives the impression that they are turning, or perhaps dancing.

The person who comes from above is recognizable by a yellow spot on his head. I see that same yellow spot upon the head of the man top left who is paying money...

The person with the yellow spot is the man who is paying to find his treasure (top left). In the diagonal it is pictured that he found his treasure: the woman who loves and receives him!

That is an unusual interpretation of Jesus’ parable.

Looking at the central couple I ask myself: who was..., who is the treasure in my life. Or perhaps there were more than one person in my life who turned out to be a treasure for me.

Am I helped by comparing God’s Kingship with the person of my dreams?

Are they really the treasure of my life. Did they help me to find out that love is really the most desirable treasure?

Or should this not be the way for me to talk about the treasure in my life?

If I had been the artist how would I have pictured the treasure of my life?


At the end I have a talk with the treasure of my life..., with Jesus.

Meditation by Fr Dries van den Akker S.J