Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven is like the merchant seeking and finding the pearl. So, it is the kingdom that seeks and finds. It is the kingdom that sacrifices and buys. It is the kingdom that finds the perfect pearl, a fine pearl, and obtains it all costs. It is the reign of God in Christ that finds the pearl of great value. It is something the kingdom seeks and finds. The pearl is you and I!
Alexander Solzhenitsyn points out that there is no dividing line separating good people and evil people in the world. That dividing line runs right through each of us. This is a powerful recognition that in each of us there is both the power for great good and the capacity for great harm. We ourselves are both wheat and weeds.
Saints Joachim and Ann, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary –
We look back at the small beginnings of Jesus, a few fishermen, prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners. By no means are any of us insignificant. We can bring about the kingdom in our own little way. We are to be leavening agents in our world by our actions and our words. We can make a difference being generous instead of selfish, understanding rather than judgmental, cooperative rather than competitive. In God’s world we are the yeast.
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time –
When Jesus saw the small supply of food to feed the crowd, he raised his eyes to heaven and pronounced a blessing over them. When the disciples saw the small supply of food, they complained. For them there was no cause for rejoicing because of how little they had. There wasn’t enough to be thankful for. We cannot deny the role of gratitude in abundant living. An ungrateful person can never have enough of anything.
St. Sharbel Makhluf –
The parable of the weeds and wheat deals with membership in the kingdom. There are both good and bad in it. But until lives are over we cannot say for sure which is which. It is still the growing season and what seems to be a weed might turn out as the finest grain of wheat and what seems to be wheat might just be weeds. It is not in our place to judge which is which. We all need to grow together until harvest.
St. Bridget –
Discipleship calls us to be careful and deliberate sowers of a harvest far greater and lasting than our own interests and profit. Christ calls us to be sowers of his Word in every situation and relationship, especially when such “sowing” yields a harvest that benefits others far more than benefits us. Wherever you find yourself today, plant a seed of hope and possibility and watch it grow.
St. Mary Magdalene –
Like Mary Magdalene, we need to be messengers of the resurrection. We need to let go of our distant, detached image of Jesus so that we can take on the hard, demanding work of going forth and making known his presence in our midst. Our simple and quiet works of compassion need to reveal the reality of Jesus love in the lives of the poor and forgotten right where we live. We need to stop staring into empty tombs and recognize the risen Jesus in our midst. That image is ever-present.
St. Lawrence of Brindisi –
If we are discouraged about our own personal growth, let us remember the true story of a piece of marble that was hewn from one gigantic block, unwanted, and discarded for 38 years after being poorly cut. Then the authorities commissioned a young 26-year-old artist to work on it. In two years, there was a masterpiece, and that masterpiece is the statue of David. So, it is with each of us. No matter how discarded we may feel at a given moment we are all valuable with a little effort, we can become something beautiful, desirable, and admirable. Jesus wants us to grow to our full potential and so, let those who have ears to hear, hear.
St. Apollinaris –
In the midst of Jesus addressing the people, some of his family members arrive and ask to speak with him. Jesus takes advantage of this opportunity and makes a very radical and shocking declaration. Gesturing to his disciples he says these are my sisters and brothers, this is my family. He redefines family as being based on doing the will of his Father in heaven. Do we comprehend all that this entails? Do we realize what it fully means to be able to share with Jesus in calling God our Father? That not only makes us brothers and sisters of Jesus but brothers and sisters to one another.
God reveals his love for us in every act of kindness, in every offering of forgiveness. God is in our midst not in displays of miraculous wonder or supernatural power, but in humble gratitude and selfless service that imitates the love of Jesus in the Gospel. Such signs of God’s mercy and love are all around us and sometimes we ourselves are the very signs we seek.