|Love can make us do crazy things. Hollywood shows us individuals sacrificing their time, money, careers and even their lives for their beloved. We know from our own experiences what it’s like to sacrifice for someone we love. Many of us benefitted from parents who sacrificed their entire lives to love us into the people we are today.
I like to think of today’s Gospel as two mini-love stories. In one, a person finds a treasure in a field and sells everything to purchase the field. In the other, a merchant finds a valuable pearl and sells everything to purchase it. At the literal level, these individuals seem only “in love” with money. But we can interpret the stories as a metaphor. They are in love with something of great value and, like anyone in love, they make great, even crazy, sacrifices for their beloved. Jesus invites us to love the Kingdom of Heaven so much that we are willing to sacrifice everything to obtain it.
In our first reading, we read how Moses, with a radiant face, comes down Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments. Although his radiant face probably reflects his encounter with the Divine, I like to think it could also reflect Moses’ love for the commandments. The Law gave the Jewish people their identity as a people in covenant with God. They valued and loved the Law because it reflected their special relationship with God. As Christians, we too must value the Law and devote our entire lives to following the commandments. But it may be difficult, and even seem crazy, to love the commandments. No one likes to be told what to do or how to live. And we live in a society full of legal small print, regulations and legalese, which may make the commandments seem like just ten more rules to follow.
While it may be difficult for many of us today to draw closer to God by loving the ten commandments, we can find God elsewhere. Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Ignatius who founded the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. St. Ignatius encouraged everyone to find God in all things. We can find God in Creation: in the sunrise, in the flowers of the field, in our favorite animals. We can find God in one another: in the smile of a child, in the laugher of a loved one, in the faces of the poor. As we become more aware of God’s presence in our lives, the Kingdom of Heaven becomes more real. We begin to fall in love with God. We may even do something crazy like start a new religious order or renew our commitment to the commandments.