Our Ministries
24 Jul

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hunting for Pearls

What is “the pearl of great price” that each of us is seeking? What is it that is priceless and sometimes hard to find or to recognize in our lives today? Our first response—a cure for COVID-19! After all, we could go back to “normal life” if only we could rid ourselves of this virus. Of course, we all want to alleviate the suffering and we want to find a cure. Even when we find the cure, we know that we are changed by this experience.

I think this Gospel gives us lots to ponder. I think we are also seeking and finding new understandings as well as unearthing lots of misunderstandings. We are discovering a lot about ourselves and what matters most during this pandemic. In some ways, we have all become more vulnerable, and perhaps more able to hear the cries of those who are suffering. We are all suffering.

Solomon prayed: “Give your servant, therefore an understanding heart.” What is it that we are seeking to understand? Understanding requires deep listening. Are we listening to the pressures we are experiencing—choices about how to “school” our children, unemployment, evictions from homes, protests of injustice and reactions to them, the immigration status of human beings whose dignity doesn’t seem to matter, the climate crisis?

In Romans we read that “all things work together for those who love God.” How are we working together? The divisions we see—economic, political, religious—are not in my mind examples of working together. They are not unlike what Jesus experienced during his life, his ministry. What did Jesus do? He went against the culture of his time and acted to heal the injustices. He recognized the dignity of every person!

Pope Francis says the pearl is the Gospel. The treasures that come from this “pearl” are these graces: truth, mercy, and joy. The Scripture readings for this weekend provide not a cure for a virus, but in the hunting, the seeking, lure us to deeper insights into what is truly priceless. Let us be BOLD in naming what is priceless in our lives. Let us seek the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. “Selling all we have” is about our sacrifice for the lives and dignity of all. May we be graced with truth, mercy, and joy.