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Pearl of Great Price
Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for the treasure of this new day. Fill me with the faith, hope, and love I need to reflect your grace. Conform my will to yours so that others may see you in me.
- The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like…: Most people on their journey to maturity look for the meaning of life. Perhaps the search is for a “higher power”–something outside us or beyond our ability to grasp–some “energy.” In reality, we are searching for a God who is much more personal than any of those concepts. When we encounter Jesus we have found the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus, we discover, is someone we long to spend time with and grow closer to. We learn that he knows us better than we know ourselves. “For you formed my inward parts,you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). Knowing Jesus gives meaning to our lives. The Kingdom of Heaven is born and grows in our souls until one day it will be fully realized in eternity.
- The Search: We use all of our resources to buy the pearl of great price, and then discover that it will take a lifetime to appreciate and fully understand this treasure. St. Paul explains, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Because we are bound by our humanity on Earth, our path to holiness will be one of fits and starts. “Beginnings and re-beginnings are important in the spiritual life.” (Fulfillment of All Desire, p.18). At times we may sense God’s presence and other times experience dryness and even abandonment. Whether in consolation or desolation, we pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16). “Immortality is given to the one who perseveres; everlasting life is offered; the Lord promises his Kingdom” (St. Cyprian of Carthage).
- The Asking Price: From the beginning of the Church, many Christians have paid a high price to follow Jesus. They have endured persecutions, suffering, and martyrdom. As we spend time in prayer growing closer to Christ, we are slowly transformed and find ourselves willing to make costly sacrifices: tithing, detachment from material goods, works of mercy, and many other personal sacrifices. Filled with zeal, we engage in apostolic initiatives that flow naturally as our desire to share Christ with others flourishes. In fact, we become beacons that point others to a field where they, too, can find the treasure.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I love you and I am so grateful for your deep and personal love for me. Help me to continue to nurture this love through prayer and service to you. Help me to persevere in my prayer and sacrifices. You are the meaning of my life. I want to know you, love you, and serve you in this life so that I may be with you in the next.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will contemplate and review my apostolic initiatives and reflect more deeply on what I am being called to do to bring souls closer to you.
For Further Reflection: The Fulfillment of All Desire, by Ralph Martin.
Bob Cohn and his wife Jeanette live in Maryland and have spent the last thirty-five years raising seven children, working in their parish, and singing together. He is an electrical engineer with a manufacturing firm, and he loves to share his faith through speaking and writing.