Jesus doesn’t say, “in his greed,” but “in his joy.” We might safely assume that these three words are important to the meaning of the parable, and that the reign of God has much to do with joy.
– Kathryn Matthews Huey
The readings for the seventeenth Sunday in ordinary time cycle A can be found here.
Ask yourself, when you heard or read the parable of the pearl did you focus on the pearl itself or did you focus on the person who sold all to posses the pearl? What was your focus drawn to? Was the point of the parable the value of the pearl? Was the point of the parable the behavior of selling everything to posses the pearl? Take a minute to think about this.
– SHORT INTERLUDE –
Time is up. In the treasure and in the pearl parables, scholars discuss amongst themselves whether the objective is to point out the the value of the treasure and pearl or the actions of the people who sell everything to posses those items. Does that surprise you? Surely scholars have determined the one true meaning to these stories from Jesus?
Here is what scripture scholars do know; these parables are primarily in the writings of Matthew and focused on the Matthean kingdom. There is also a common theme in these parables that cannot be overlooked: Joy. I hope that this point was clear in your hearing of the Gospel.
There is an old idiom that says “victory is seldom won by half measures.” If you want to experience the joy of the kingdom of God, hold nothing back.
For Jesus, treasure is all about what he calls “the kingdom of heaven”. The kingdom of heaven is that place or level of existence where the life of the Divine is fully present and active, where God’s life of love abounds. For Jesus, this is the most valuable treasure you can possess – to live a life that is rooted in the kingdom of heaven, a life that exudes compassion, love, mercy and forgiveness.
-Patricia Rome Robertson
This leads us to the question; what are you holding back? Jesus gave us a “to-do” list, a “honey-do” list of sorts: Love God and love your neighbor. From this list comes compassion, love, mercy, forgiveness, etc. The joy of the kingdom of God is such a priceless treasure that a wise person would jump at the chance to give up everything for an opportunity to get it. We call this a chance of a lifetime. Your lifetime.
“You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.”
If you take one thing away from this homily it should be that if you want to experience the joy of God’s kingdom today, leave nothing on the table.
That phrase [leave nothing on the table] is an intriguing one. It alludes to the fact that in life we want to take utmost advantage of everything available to us. In negotiations we want to walk away knowing we got everything we possibly could. The sports world has similar phrases. Leave nothing on the field (football). Leave nothing on the floor (basketball). Contestants will expend everything they have mentally and physically to win.
I have an affinity for sports analogy. I am the king of the sports cliche, so I couldn’t pass on Pastor Dave’s explanation. I will leave you with one last quote from one of my favorite icons of sport.
If you don’t invest very much, then defeat doesn’t hurt very much and winning is not very exciting.
Love wastefully and God bless,