17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: MT 13: 44-52

Today’s Gospel, the parable of the treasure and the parable of the pearl, focuses on the value of the kingdom and the appropriate response of those who find it. Both individuals responded immediately and are willing to take risks by selling everything they have to obtain the valuable treasure. The parable of the pearl of great price is about people who are actively seeking the meaning of life. We can see that the major theme in these two parables is great joy. This joy is life changing! These people have found a treasure that is so great they are willing to give up everything to get that great treasure.

Recently, I heard a story about a grandmother, who took her six-year granddaughter shopping at the mall. At the jewelry shop, the granddaughter found a very pretty pearl necklace and wanted to buy it. Her grandmother told her: “You can buy this necklace after your birthday, which is coming soon. You can collect your birthday money and buy this pearl necklace.” The granddaughter collected the money she received as gifts on her birthday and went back to the shop and bought the pearl necklace. She wore it only on very special occasions and cherished this pearl necklace more than anything else in her life.

Her father came to her room to kiss her and say goodnight and asked her: “Can you give me your pearl necklace? She did not want to give it to him so she told him: “I can give you the pretty doll, which I got on my birthday.” Her father was so happy. The next night, he went to her room and kissed her and said goodnight and asked again: “Can you give me the pearl necklace?” The daughter said: “I can give you my best dress, which I got on my birthday.” Her father was so happy. The third night, he went to her room and asked her for the pearl necklace again. She started to cry and hugged her father and said, “I am sorry I did not give you my “precious pearl necklace;” I love you, dad, more than anything.” So, she gave the “pearl necklace” to her father. Her father took her pearl necklace with one hand and with the other hand; he gave her another pearl necklace. The pearl on the necklace, which she had, was not a real pearl but an artificial one. Her father gave her the real pearl.

This story gives us the message that we keep all kinds of artificial pearls in our lives, but only God can give us real pearls. Once we are ready to sacrifice and give up everything to God, God will give us the great treasure of His Kingdom.

The real treasure and happiness we can find is the love of God and it is free to all. Let us have this treasure of love in our hearts and share it with family and friends. The truth is that the more love we give to others, the more love we have within us. God’s love is unconditional and God loves us as we are! Let us accept God’s treasure with joy, share it with everyone, and grow richer every day!

We have to decide whether the price is worth paying and make the appropriate response of total commitment. If we are unwilling to pay the price of commitment, then we will not gain the treasure. Christ fulfills our greatest needs, satisfies our longings, makes us whole and clean before God, and gives us hope for the future. Let us ask ourselves: “What are the treasures and the pearls of great price in our lives today? Would we be willing to give up everything we value in order to obtain these treasures?” Let us remember the words of St. Mother Teresa, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”