Your Hidden Treasure!

    There is a famous oil field known as the Yates Oil Field in the Permian basin of west Texas, bordering the Pecos River. The field has produced more than one billion barrels of oil, making it one of the largest in the United States. Estimated recoverable reserves are still approximately one billion barrels, which represents approximately 50% of the original oil in place.

    During the depression, this field was a sheep ranch owned by Mr. Ira and Mrs. Ann Yates. Unable to make enough money on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on his mortgage, he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family, like many others, had to live on a government subsidy. Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling west Texas hills, he was greatly troubled.

    Ira heard about oil excavation in Texas and invited Transcontinental Oil Company to explore his land where they discovered oil. They drilled a wildcat well, and at a little more than a thousand feet, they struck a huge oil reserve, giving eighty thousand barrels a day. In fact, thirty years after the discovery, a government test of one of Mr. Yates' wells showed that it still produces more than a hundred thousand barrels of oil a day. Mr. Yates owned it all, but he had been living on relief - a multimillionaire living in poverty. Why? He did not know the oil was there! He owned it, but he did not benefit from the treasure of it. In today's Gospel, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a treasure hidden in a field. It is true that we Catholics own the hidden treasure that is God's Kingdom, but we are not realizing it or benefiting from it. Let me explain this through another story.

    A man named Ron was searching for answers in his life. Someone told him about a spiritual guide in a neighboring country who had a reputation for being a very wise man. He made an appointment with only one thing in his mind; he was going to meet someone who surely had the answers for him. Ron drove there only to discover that the man was not there. The longer he waited the angrier he became. Finally the man arrived.

    That man didn't look at all like a wise man that he had pictured in his mind. He didn't even have a beard! Ron thought perhaps the teacher would place his hands on his head or heart and it would explode him in ecstasy. But that didn't happen. The wise teacher simply rattled off three things Ron should do. Before Ron had a chance to respond or ask any questions, the wise one left the room. Ron felt disappointed and disillusioned. He had travelled all this way and for what?

    After Ron returned home, his wife, Eleanor, asked him about his meeting with the guru. "He told me that there are three things I must do," Ron said. "One, pray unceasingly. Two, go home and love your wife and children. Three, do what needs to be done." Eleanor looked straight at Ron and said, "Thank God, someone finally told you that!" What the teacher told was true. He was far wiser that Ron thought of him. Our greatest treasure is at home: our family. If every family does all those three things with love and care, then family is a treasure to be cherished over. God has bestowed all the treasures in the Christian family. Do our daily acts reflect this?

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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