This weekend, the 17th Sunday in Ordinary time, we hear the last section of the 13th chapter of the Gospel of Mathew. In the chapter we hear many short parables. I am lucky to be able to listen to Catholic Radio (St. Gabriel AM 920), and I have a couple of regular devotion so I knew which parables were coming and I had been thinking about it a few times throughout the week.
Evangelii Gaudium (p138) says that the homily ‘should guide the assembly… to a life-changing communion with Christ in the Eucharist.‘ I find this huge massive correlation between this weeks gospel and the Eucharist, and I never have heard a homily about it or anyone else talking about it, so let me point out my personal revelation:
What is the pearl of greatest price? What is the greatest price one could pay for anything, is it not ones own life? Did Jesus himself not sell himself into bondage, torment and suffering and eventually tortured to death on the cross? What did he pay for? Did he not die to give us the new covenant through the Eucharist, so we could share in his sacrifice? How do we mold our unleavened bread?… in the shape of a large white pearl! Jesus knew that he was selling everything he owned so that he could buy, with his own life, the Eucharist for us to share. An interpretation of this weeks Gospel is: Jesus is the merchant, who sold everything so that he could purchase the pearl of great price for you an me. Thus the pearl of the greatest price is Jesus, because God himself paid for it with his own life! No greater price could be paid.
I see the reading as also a metaphor for adult converts who often leave behind everything, family, friends, sometimes even jobs and social circles to become Catholic so that they can share in this pearl of the greatest price. Ponder, if the greatest pearl in the world were on display in the Smithsonian museum would not tens of thousands of people come to see it on display every year? Think of the thousands of people all over the world at all times of day right now, who are giving up an hour or more of their lives to be in the presence of the Lord through the Adoration of the Eucharist. How could one say that the Eucharist is not the pearl of great price?
Christ is calling us through the Eucharist to be Christ-like and to do as he did. We must give up everything, we must lay our life down and be willing to tell him; “Not my will be, but yours Lord.” when we participate in the most Holy Sacrament. So like the merchant we must lay everything on the line, exposing ourselves and leaving the comfort of the world around us, as we approach the alter.
So next time you receive Jesus through the Eucharist, remember it was paid for with the greatest price that will ever be paid . Do not forget that we too must pay a great price to live our faith, like Christ we are called to give up everything of ourselves to truly partake in the sacrifice at Mass. If Jesus himself is not your pearl of greatest price, then what is?