Gospel Meditation

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” Jesus today gives us the image of a merchant who knows he has discovered a great treasure. In fact, its value is so tremendous that the man is willing to sell everything else in order to possess it. Why? Because he knows it will all be worth it. He knows that the pearl will bring him more reward than anything else he has ever owned, more even than all his possessions combined.

This Gospel story is meant to help us understand the unfathomable value of the kingdom of heaven. Nothing else can compare to it. No material item, no honor or success, can compete with this pearl of great price. Everything we have, short of this, is finite: limited, temporary, and ultimately fleeting. Eternal happiness, on the other hand, is infinite. It never ends. This is the deep contentment, the satisfaction, the peace, and happiness that we crave, the kind that doesn’t disappoint.

Like the merchant in the parable, we too should understand the value of this discovery. As Christians, we have “found” the treasure beyond all other treasures! Life in Christ, both now and in heaven, is truly the pearl of great price. The only question is whether we are willing to “sell” all that we have to obtain it. In other words, are we willing to release the other things that claim hold on us? Are we ready to put Christ first in our lives? All of us need to take pause from time to time and examine our attachments and priorities. Money, pleasure, success, or comfort can often seem so important to us that we falsely begin to imagine these things will bring the happiness we so desire. But the message is loud and clear today: the kingdom of heaven is the true treasure we long for.
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