By Fr. Roy Cimagala
Two of the parables of Christ can give us precious lessons about how we ought to prioritize things in our life. We know that we can have many competing interests and it’s important that we have the proper priorities in life. We have to be wary of the many conditionings that we are exposed to these days, since they can throw us into confusion.
These are the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price in the Gospel of St. Matthew. (13,44-46) “The kingdom of heaven,” Christ said, “is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Following it is a similar parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
These parables find an echo in some words of St. Paul who said: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ…” (Phil 3,8)
How important therefore that we realize that our first priority should be God and our relationship with him which should be sustained with the constant effort to know, love and serve him! We should be ready to throw away everything else that can stand in the way.
We have to make some adjustments in the way we order our objec-tive needs. We have to distinguish them from our subjective likes and desires that can only be the product of some personal or social preferences. In this we have to employ the appro-priate means, the relevant programs and operations. We should be demanding on ourselves insofar as this matter is concerned.
We need God first of all, and, in fact, all the time. He is our most important objective need, much more and infinitely more than we need air, food, rest, pleasures, etc. For without God, we are nothing. But with him, we can have everything. That is why, St. Teresa Avila boldly said: “He who has God lacks nothing. God alone is sufficient.”
We need to learn how to find God in everything we do or we see, handle or get involved in. In this, we have to be pro-active. We should not wait for some inspiration to come or some so-called favourable or conducive circumstances to take place. We have to actively look for him or create the occasion. We can always do this, because God himself empowers us to do so.
For this to happen, everyday we have to strongly set our mind to find, love and serve God. We may have to spend time meditating on this most important and objec-tive need of ours, if only to know how to uphold this basic need amid the many other needs and likes that can undermine it.
We should be ready to detach ourselves from anything that can prevent us from looking for God. In this, we are expected to do some kind of violence in the tenor of Christ’s words: “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Mt 11,12) It’s the violence of love referred to here.
But actually, if we have the faith, we would know how to relate everything to God, since everything is relatable to God. They need not be competitors of God, but rather channels to God.
Let us ask the Holy Spirit who is always by our side, prompting us all the time so that we can find our way to God through our many and changing earthly concerns. Fr. Roy Cima-gala, Chaplain, Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City, Email: roycimagala@ gmail.com