Finding the Treasure: Golden Jubilee Reflections

50th Jubilarians
Pictured clockwise, l-r: Sisters Maria Jeanne Tipton, Linda Straub, Joan Kaucher, Janet Kuciejczyk, Laura Ann Gruber, Rita Moriarty, Rosemary Render and Patricia Gloriod.

Sister Linda Straub, golden jubilarian and province leader (in the green), gave the reflection at the 50th jubilee celebration on March 14. Her words not only celebrate the jubilarians' commitment, but remind us all of true treasure and how we can find it.

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field.  What is in a treasure?  Is a treasure the winning lottery ticket for half a billion dollars?  Is the treasure good health? Is the treasure a powerful position or a lifetime achievement award? What do we most deeply desire?  What are we seeking? What is our treasure?

Notice the treasure in the Gospel is not out in the open—it is hidden in the field. We have to dig deep to find it?  Dig deep!  Where is the treasure? Is it outside of us or is it in our inner most being?  What will it cost us once we find the treasure. The seeker in the parable sold everything to buy the field.  But notice she is happy to do so. Once we see the treasure no sacrifice is too great to procure it. It is the source of our true happiness.

Isn’t that what we all want? Don’t we all think certain things, money, prestige, popularity, power will make us happy only to find out, not so much. What is the source of our happiness?  The readings today pose two questions, What is this treasure, this pearl of great price and how do we find it?

The treasure is named in the second reading.  Paul prays for the community, “that planted in love and built on love we may have enough strength to grasp the breadth and length and height and depth until knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, we will be full with the utter fullness of God.” The treasure is knowing God’s infinite, unconditional love for us.  This gift is so stunning we need to ponder it over and over in our lifetime. 

The knowledge of God’s love is beyond all knowledge. We do not discover this love by logic or reason or any amount of thinking and investigation. We only know this love through contemplation, by pondering in our hearts the message of Jesus. To know this love we need to love ourselves, we need to accept ourselves, flaws and all.  This is what it means to buy the whole field, accepting ourselves and others, letting go of our inadequacies, self-doubt and self-criticism. As well as, accepting the humanness of others, loving them for who they are not who we want them to be.

You can ask these jubilarians, when did you first get a glimpse of this treasure? And what did it cost you to buy the field?  We sometimes talk about a honeymoon period with the one we love. For me, I fell in love with God in the postulate.  But I can tell you like most honeymoons, it did not last.  There were many ups and downs in these 50 years but the treasure, God’s great love, along with grace-filled support from community, family and friends helped me to stay faithful.

And so we ask the second question, how does someone find the treasure? The merchant found the pearl but how?  Once we are aware of our hunger, our deep longing for something bigger than ourselves, like the merchant we go out seeking. But where do we start?

Elijah shows us the way in the first reading. Now Elijah was in a state of despair. He had killed all the prophets of Baal and his life was in danger.  He wanted to give up and die.  Ever feel like that?   But Yahweh did not allow him to die.  Instead he instructed Elijah to walk 40 days and nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he was told Yahweh would appear.  Now Elijah must have been curious. How would God appear?

Elijah stood at the mouth of the cave and experienced three dramatic phenomenon, a mighty wind so strong if shattered rocks, but God was not in the wind; then an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake; then a mighty fire, but God was not in the fire.  Each time Elijah was disappointed. Then Elijah felt a gentle breeze, God had come to Elijah in the silence.  Not very dramatic but a profound message. The way to find the pearl of great price, the treasure hidden in the field is through silence.

Now this is quite funny coming from the girl who with Kathy Mitchell, smiling now from heaven, took down all the strict silence signs from the dorms and hid them. Silence was not a value most of us entered with. It was quite difficult to keep silence especially after 9:00 p.m. But our mentors knew the value.  It took me many years before I could say I was comfortable and appreciated silence in my life. 

Now we experience silence in many ways, my mom used to sew and stitch often in silence, my brother-in-law fishes, you might garden or cook in silence or nurse your baby in the silence of the night.  These are contemplative moments where heart speaks to heart. It is in the silence that we experience the great love of God, the pearl beyond all price, the source of our true happiness.

Today we celebrate not only the golden jubilarians who by their very yes to God have sought the treasure but all of us gathered here today. We are on this journey together.  For it takes a community, Sisters, associates, family, friends, co-workers, church, to guide us, support us, search with us, relish the treasure and tell others about it.  For unlike in the parable it is not a secret, it is a treasure to be shared over and over with others.

This is what these jubilarians have committed to doing for 50 years.  Today, we celebrate their “yes” and all the students, patients, parishioners, sisters and associates, their lives have enriched. And we celebrate all of us here, community, family and friends who have made these 50 years of treasure seeking possible and fun.

We pray for each of us to be strengthened by Christ’s love to seek the treasure, and once we find it to be willing and “happy” to sell everything to buy the field.  For nothing can bring us greater joy than knowing the great love of God for us and this great love overflowing to one another and beyond us to a world so in need.

Jubilarians, mindful of the yes, we said 50 years ago to seek the pearl of great price and our desire to say yes the rest of our lives, let us stand with all our sisters present and renew our vows, promising with all our hearts to tend the treasure for future generations.

Click here to read the 60th reflection by S. Ruth Stuckel.


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