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The Precious Pearl

    I was at work the other day and as I was stoking the shelves in an isle, I could hear a kid in the toy isle right beside my isle say desperately to his mother, " Please mom, can I have it?! I REALLY want it!!! I NEED IT!" The kid continue to plead with his mom for a couple more minutes to which the mother said, " Will it make you happy?" and the child screams in excitement " YES it will!! It will make me the happiest boy  ever!" and the mother bought it for the child.

    Again this weekend in the Gospel Jesus presents us with three new parables. These are the last three parables in the "parable day" recorded in Matthew 13. Through out these teachings Jesus reveals to us the mysteries of the kingdom. He begins by taking what we do not know and do not understand- the kingdom of heaven- and comparing it to a scenario, situation or thing that we do understand and could relate to. So today, he presents two twin parables that reveal to us the joy of the kingdom.

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    Firstly, he teaches through the parable of the treasure. A man goes out looking for treasure, but not looking in any specific spot. The man is digging in a random spot and comes across the treasure. Filled with the excitement of finding the treasure, the man quickly sells everything and buys that plot of land which he found the treasure in and thus keeping the treasure.  Similarly, Jesus moves on to present the parable of the pearl. The merchant, who is searching for a fine pearl, finds it  and sells everything he has, to buy that one pearl worth much more than money to him.

    If we look closely at the these two parables one thing becomes apparent: despite the fact that one was unintentionally searching for the treasure and the other was searching for that fine pearl, that at the riches they were quick to give up everything they had to be able to keep it. They immediately went and sold everything they had just to purchase that one plot of land, or that one pearl.

    Of course it is risky to sell everything for that one land or than one pearl. In selling everything they had, the people had nothing to lean back on, as a safety net, except for their  one treasure. Especially in that culture it was easy to lose everything, so this was indeed a large risk they undertook by selling everything. Also,during the time of Jesus, it was the case that riches were inherited- it was uncommon and highly suspicious to have a random increase in wealth. Especially in the case of the person finding the treasure, the random increase in wealth could be problematic, since there was and still is a debate if it should rightfully belong to him, however Jesus seems to presume so.

    Despite the risk, they still sold everything in a heart beat.

    When presented with the Gospel, do we respond in a similar way?

    So often we are presented with the precious gift, the relationship with Christ. Regardless if we are searching or not Christ is revealing himself time and time again in the people, places and scenarios that surround us. Jesus is making himself present in our circumstances, hidden like that pearl and the treasure until we find him at last. Yet, he is never truly hidden, it is we who need to recognize him in each of these situations of our life, however difficult they may be.

    When we  are presented with Christ in our life, how do we act? Are we consumed with an inspiring joy that it causes us to commit our lives to it? Do we find it and rebury it, forgetting about it? Or do we allow it to exist without having an effect on our lives?

   Almost immediately while reading these parables the phrase from Jesus in Matthew 16:24  fills the mind; " Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow me." Following Jesus and accepting him is a response that requires us to let down the securities that we have built up, and put total trust in him. It requires us to: let God lead our path in life in every decision we make, allow our lives to be focused on God, and to be brave in proclaiming the faith. The joy that comes with the finding Christ in our life, should be one that consumes us. It should be a joy that forgets the costs, that forgets the safety nets and give everything to it.

    Christ is calling for our entire selves. He is wanting to fill us with an immeasurable amount of Love and Joy, but we first need to find him and build that relationship with him.

    This love and joy, is not a joy that remains still like water on a calm morning. The love and joy found with Him is a consuming storm that desires to be shared. It is a storm of life and joy that makes us forget about sin, weaknesses and divisions, and focus on the source of itself, Jesus.

    Like the child in the store, we should desire to be with Christ, to want him in our life. Yet when we begin to look closer and closer in our lives we will find he is already there working and waiting patiently for us to recognize him. Seeing Christ work, should cause a storm of contagious joy  that desires to be shared and spread to everyone in our lives. For the joy that Christ brings, is a joy that should flood the our lives and the entire world. Yet at times we fail to allow Christ  to consume us with himself. We want the safety net. However in finding Christ, we are called to give all that we are, all that we have to him, our eternal Father

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