A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”
Good News Reflection:
When Jesus told the parable of today’s Gospel reading, how did he know what it’s like to find the reign of God and then sell everything to get it? How could he understand this search for his father’s kingdom — he was born already fully alive in it!
Turn this story around and look at it from another angle. Read it again, replacing “the reign of God” or “the kingdom of heaven” (two translations of the same words) with “Christ’s relationship with me”, like so: “Christ’s relationship with me is like a really valuable pearl that a salesman found in his search for merchandise that would help him earn a good living. When he found this amazing pearl, he quickly sold off the rest of his stock so that he could afford to buy it.”
If Jesus were reading this scripture to you, he would explain it this way: “You, my precious friend, are a very valuable pearl. I gave up everything and bought you with my life so that I could have you with me forever.”
See! Jesus surely knows what it means to off-load everything to obtain a prize. YOU are that prize. Your relationship with him is a real treasure that he cherishes very much.
Do you feel the same way about him? Have you found a way to afford the high cost of making God the top priority in your life? Is there anything you cherish more than him, such as activities that keep you too busy for quiet time alone with him? Or desires or addictions that displease him? Or the approval of people who don’t agree with him?
In other words, have you off-loaded everything that’s less valuable in order to obtain more of the kingdom of heaven while you are still living on the earth?
We say we believe that putting God first in our lives is our highest priority, but is it really? How many distractions are pulling you away from this treasure? What unrepented sins?
What are you unwilling to give up in order to obtain the fullness of life that comes from God’s Holy Spirit?
And consider this: Do you, at any time, feel like you are not a precious pearl to Jesus? Are there people in your life who are undervaluing you? Disrespecting you? Failing to love you as they should? Don’t allow them to distract you from seeing how precious you are to God.
When you understand that you are a treasure, a valuable pearl in God’s kingdom, it becomes easier to let go of the desire to feel valued by others. Everything else that makes us feel important and valued becomes less necessary. Intimacy with God is the only thing that really matters.
Lord, give me wisdom to see beyond evil and beyond the worldly things, and may nothing stop my determined race to Your kingdom to meet You. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica