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Friends, Jesus speaks in today’s Gospel of the treasure buried in a field that a man stumbles upon. And he sells everything he has in order to buy that field. Could the field be the human heart, the treasure be the imago of Christ, and the selling of everything be the surrendering of all for the sake of the mission?

Jesus also speaks of the merchant’s search for a pearl of great price; when he finds the pearl, the merchant sells everything in order to acquire it. Could this pearl be the one thing worth looking for? And could the selling off of everything else be living out of the successful, centered life?

Joseph Campbell says that the greatest tragedy in life is not so much failure but rather climbing the ladder of success and finding out that it is up against the wrong wall! Bob Dylan was reflecting ruefully on the same phenomenon when he said, “You find out when you reach the top / you’re on the bottom.” We can spend our entire lives pursuing goals that are worthless, or even goals that are objectively good but not ours—or better, not Christ’s for us.