New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 12: Year A
“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Matthew 13: 51 – 52)
Leading up to the part where our Lord Jesus asks if the disciples “understood all this,” is a series of “The kingdom of heaven is like,” statements. These similes are all intended to show both the growth-effect of the kingdom of heaven, (something old), and that the heart of a person’s greatest desire, can be accomplished (something new).
The mustard seed grows to be the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. The Israelites have been scattered and twice caught in bondage but in spite of all this they grew and grew. They overcame their captors and were freed. They became the foundational tree of a One God theology where all the peoples of the earth could find comfort in its branches.
When Jesus gave us the Commandment to first love God and then to love our neighbors as ourselves, he established for us what ought to be our greatest desire. Finding our love for God is like finding a treasure hidden in a field, something for which we would be most happy to sell everything we have to have it. Again, finding our love for God is like finding fine pearls and again selling all that we have to have them. Truly loving God is total and complete happiness. It is when we love God with all that we are that we can then love our neighbors. It does not work when trying to love neighbor or even family before loving God. Love God first, then it works.
The reward of our faith, and the growth of it, brings us both something new and something old. But also, this is to reflect the Christian Testament (something new), and the Torah (something old). So when the disciples were asked if they understood all this, I doubt they really did. I doubt most Christians today really understand all this. The important question is, my beloved of Christ, do you understand all this?
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John