The act of communication is an amazingly difficult task, because we humans communicate on so many levels: Verbal (obviously), Visual (both in writing and gestures, facial expressions), Auditory, and Sensory. We communicate, intentionally and unintentionally along all these spectrums all the time. And guess what, we still struggle with misunderstanding!
Just think of the multitude of “messages” you send everyday, both great and small. It’s an amazing thing this art of communication.
Just the other day, I was sitting in our livingroom with my wife and we were just sitting and talking. During the conversation something came to my mind that I had been concerned about for some time involving some ministry work, completely unrelated to our conversation. But, in an instant, my facial expression changed and she noticed, and concluded that I was upset about the subject we were discussing! In an instant, that one facial expression set off a whole host of misunderstandings that had to be straightened out!
Exhausting! But that’s how communication works (or doesn’t work!)
In today’s Gospel Lesson, the Lord checks in with His disciples after giving them several “word pictures” about the Kingdom of heaven. He want’s to make sure they “get” what He is saying and they understand the implications of His revelation to them about the Kingdom of heaven. Look at Matthew 13:44-54.
He tells them the Kingdom of heaven is “like treasure hidden in a field,”(verse 44) “like a merchant in search of fine pearls,”(verse 45-46 “like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad.” (verse 47-48)
In each parable the focus is on what the Kingdom of heaven is like. The Lord gives these parables to His disciples to help them begin to comprehend the reality of the Kingdom in their lives right here and right now! Because understanding the Kingdom of heaven now allows me to begin to participate in the Kingdom of heaven right here and right now! And that changes my life, my perspective, my priorities, and my purposeful living!
And He proves this is His intent when He asks them “Have you understood all this?” And they respond: “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Today, are you exploring the reality of the Kingdom of heaven for your life here and now? Do you understand that the Kingdom is worth selling everything you have to acquire it? Do you understand that the Kingdom is worth whatever price you are called on to pay for it? Do you understand that the Kingdom of heaven is filled with all kinds of people here and now and that we will have to be creative in using valuables both old and new to make His Kingdom clear and available to all people today?
Lot’s of opportunities for misunderstanding, so it is all the more important that we who say we are followers of Jesus are clear about the central message of this new and eternal Kingdom we have been invited to embrace, and share with the whole world. Only a serious and purposeful and focused attention will protect us from missing out on understanding. But, make no mistake, it’s worth the work!