Jul 31 (Mt 13:44-46)

Jenny was a cheerful little seven-year old girl of a poor home.

Once, while out shopping with her mother, in the market…

… she came across a “fine white pearl” in a pink foil box.

Though it was an imitation pearl (not a real one), the girl was highly fascinated, and sought to buy it.

>> After a lot of pestering, the mother – giving up some of her precious savings, to satisfy her daughter’s desire – bought the imitation pearl to her.

As soon the girl reached home, her uncle – whom she loved much and had returned from foreign – was waiting to see her.

The excited girl ran to her loved uncle, and presented the imitation pearl, saying:

“Uncle, see how beautiful this pearl is! I am so excited to be possessing it!”

But the Uncle – who knew the child’s love for pearls – looked into her eyes and asked:

“Child, if you really love me, give the pearl to me!”

“Oh no Uncle! I can’t give this pearl to you!

I have got this bought from Mummy after a lot of insistence.

>> I will give you my favourite doll instead…but don’t ask me for this pearl… please!”

But Uncle went on insisting: “No, if you really love me, give me that pearl!”

The child, by now had tears in her eyes…

… little drops flowing down her tender cheeks, Jenny says:

“Uncle, I do love you very much.

Though it is extremely hard for me, but because I love you, I will give you this pearl!”

>> And so saying, she handed over the pearl to her uncle.

As soon as Uncle received that pearl – which was an imitation…

… he reached out his hand inside his bag, and took out a box.

Handing over the box to the crying child, he told her: “Check what I have for you, in return for what you gave me”.

Jenny opened the box.

>> To her great surprise and delight, it was a Necklace of Real Pearls!

Her eyes glistened, as she held the Priceless Necklace of Pearls, in her little hands.

And as she kept admiring, her Uncle told her:

“Remember my Child! So it is with life…

>> Unless you recognize and give up the fake things of life…

… you can never possess the real treasures of life!

Never be afraid of taking the risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”

What about us?

>> Are we ready to hand over the “imitation” pearls to our Loving God, in order to be handed over the real “Pearl of Great Price!”

The Gospel of the Day are the twin parables of Jesus about the Kingdom of God being compared to a “priceless fortune” being discovered.

>> A man finding a treasure in a field (Mt 13: 44-45)

>> A merchant finding a pearl of great price (Mt 13:46)

One of the common thought-pattern exhibited in both these parables is the following factor:

“The risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”

>> The man on finding the treasure in the field…

… takes the risk of selling everything, in order to buy the treasure, which was priceless

>> The merchant on finding the precious pearl…

… takes the risk of selling all that he had, in order to possess the pearl, which was priceless.

The pages of the Bible narrate this pattern: “The risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”…

… St Joseph risks listening to the voice of the Angel, and taking Mary as his wife – in order to provide a home for the Son of God – a priceless responsibility!

… St Peter risks giving up his boats and fishing nets – in order to follow Jesus – a priceless vocation!

… Zacheaus risks inviting Jesus into his home and doing away with his riches – in order to obtain salvation – a priceless reward!

… St Paul risks doing away with his former ways of persecuting Christianity and preaching to the Gentiles, instead – in order to win many souls- a priceless way of life!

“Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved playing it safe, and sticking to the familiarity of the known!”

Are we ready to take this risk…?

… risk doing away with our sinful ways, in order to live a new life in Christ?

… risk giving up some undue attachments, in order to allow the Lord to possess our hearts?

… risk removing some unwelcome addictions, in order to allow the Spirit of God to work in us?

Jesus, the Priceless Fortune deserves our best!

We, however, often cling on to the “imitation” pearls in our life.

… assuming that they can give us happiness – when in actuality, they are mere imitations!

Our Loving God constantly asks us: “Child, if you really love me, give the pearl to me!”

>> Our human weakness and tendency may tell “Oh no! I can’t give this pearl to you!

But let us not be afraid to “take the risk”…

… and tell the Lord:

“Lord, I do love you very much.

Though it is extremely hard for me, but because I love You, I will give You this pearl!”

Yes, this act of “taking a risk” will surely win for us “The Pearl of Great Price”!

Let us faith-life always remind us:

“Unless you recognize and give up the fake things of life…

… you can never possess the real treasures of life!”

Yes, let us “never be afraid of taking the risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is Priceless!”

Today we celebrate the Feast of a Great Saint – St Ignatius of Loyola…

… the founder of the Society of Jesus – the Jesuit Fathers.

He was a man with a lot of worldly ambitions and gripped with seeking vain glory.

But an incident, wherein, he was bed-ridden, as a result of a leg injury, brought a transformation in his life.

>> Not finding any other books to read, he was handed over the “Life of Saints”, which made him to prompt himself to ask a question: “Why am I using my life just for myself? These people did so much good during their time on earth. Why can’t I?”

St Ignatius was at the “bored and unexcited” phase of his life…

… yet the Lord would use “that” situation, to bring a transformation in his life and helped him to discovered “the pearl of great price!”

Maybe, many of us are also going through a “bored and unexcited” phase of our life…

… feeling uncertain about the future

… experiencing worry about the past

… troubled by the anxieties of the present.

Yet, the Lord is with us…

… waiting to be discovered as the Greatest Treasure!

What is needed is our self-giving…

… little and small as we are: let us offer our lives to the Lord

… broken and disturbed as we are: let us give ourselves to the Lord

May his prayer echo in our hearts as well:

“O my God, teach me to be generous, teach me to serve you as I should…

… to give without counting the cost,

… to fight without fear of being wounded,

… to work without seeking rest,

…. to labour without expecting any reward,

… but the knowledge that I am doing your most holy will.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The beginning of good things is good, the progress is better…

… the end is the best!”

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