17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

In today’s Sunday Gospel, we have the parable of the pearl of great price. It is interesting, I always remember the story of the pearl of great price, but yet I do not recall the story of the field with the treasure in it, where one sells everything because the treasure is worth more than what he owns and is so valuable that one would gladly sell everything they own to obtain it. It seems to me to actually be the better analogy though because it while owning the pearl would perhaps be nice, what could you really do with the pearl, except be happy that you own something that you desire, whereas the treasure would really look after you.  It would be a serious step up and worth taking the risk for.

 It made me reflect on Jesus and the value of knowing Him. What sacrifice would I be willing to make to obtain the gift of Jesus and His love and mercy?  Now that I am moving, I get the impression that I haven’t given up enough to follow Him. It would be a lot easier to move if I had for sure. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with possessions themselves (of course I have to say that because I have many possessions) but the idea is that I have to give myself to something fully is the main idea. Solomon in the First Reading was blessed for his desire to have the grace and wisdom to do his job as a king. He asked for what he needed for his vocation and God blessed Him so much so that God never revoked Solomon’s wisdom to rule his kingdom, even though he lacked the wisdom in his personal life and was sinful. God was pleased with Solomon’s request to whole heartily serve his kingdom.  That caused me to think that it is important to buy the pearl of great price in our lives. To be a purchaser of the pearl one must take risks and sell oneself out for a single thing. One must go against the ancient wisdom to put all your eggs in one basket and go for something. This is what a hero does for something. This is the calling of the pearl of great price. If you are called to marriage then you have purchased the pearl and now it is your call to pursue the heroics of marriage with you whole heart. You are not to merely survive your marriage but to thrive, to seek each day how to love God more and your spouse more, to day in and day out choose life in your marriage, choose love in your marriage. We often give marriage a bum wrap suggesting that it is easy, but not so,marriage is a call of heroes. It is best if there are two heroes, but one will do in a pinch and by grace teach the other to be a hero as well. Priesthood, too, is a means to buy the pearl of great price, to devote yourself to one thing and focus on that, namely God. Your daily heroics will include the daily grind of life, your daily faithfulness to prayer and to love when God has decided not to do it your way, to love when you don’t feel like it. If you are single, then your pearl is to your call to holiness and daily looking towards your goal of heaven, to serve Holy Mother Church in your freedom and time, to progress each day closer to God, to fight in your loneliness and pain and stay close to God in your times of need.

To buy the pearl means to live heroically. However, we can only live this heroically if we can love heroically and we can only love heroically if we experience heroic love and we can only experience heroic love from God. Maybe we have bought the pearl of great price and it has lost it luster and it looks like there is another pearl that could be more perfect and beautiful. This could happen for two reasons.  First, we never actually had the pearl and second, we never heroically loved the pearl and were therefore not heroically loved to begin with.  The solution to the first is to let God love us by asking and spending time with Him and then asking to love Him back. A hero loves something and is loved by something and then can lay down their life. I see what the issue is with our general dissatisfaction with life. We are not experiencing love in order to be able to love heroically.  We have built towers with no foundations or with the foundations of human love. We may even have come to the Church for human love and when there is a lack of affirmation, we fall away. We need to get back to heroic love which finds its source from God. I find my priesthood is only lived well with God and I believe that religious life and married life and single life also must be the same way. We are all called to this.

Heroically loving takes many forms and it means to live above your nature. If you are always giving into your nature, you are not living the Christian life and you are probably hurting and harming those around you. Lashing out not a sign of heroics and you should spend more time with God and let Him guide you through it.

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