"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."
Almost ten years ago, I informed my bosses where I was working that I was resigning from my career and going to Mount Angel to enter the Abbey and study for the priesthood. My bosses were left speechless and shocked that a young man like me who had everything going for him in the corporate world would want to leave everything behind, a lucrative and advancing career, plenty of money, and possessions to do something so counter-cultural and probably absurd in their mind! Despite all their efforts to persuade me from staying on, my mind and my heart was made up! Yes I could be happy and successful climbing up the corporate ladder and have everything that the world says I need or offer, I was convinced that going the opposite direction was where I would be fulfilled and satisfied. There has never been a day where I have regretted this decision!
It is often thought that it's only priests and religious that are called to give up everything for Jesus and His Kingdom. Mistakenly many Catholics in the pews think this and especially here in our country. But the fact of the matter is that all of us should want to follow the example of those who Jesus speaks about in the Parables in today's Gospel who "sell all that he has" to purchase that "field" or "pearl of great price." I should note that Jesus emphasized that those who do so do it with a true and authentic joy. No matter how absurd it may seem to others.
Many do not like it when their pastor talks about money, especially when it applies to being a good steward. Trust me when I say this, many priests don't like to do so either. But in truth, it is not Pope Francis, Archbishop Sample, or even me your pastor telling you what you should do with your money. It is Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God who is speaking to us! It is God who we ignore if we close our ears or hearts to His Holy Spirit and we all know what lies ahead for any who silence His voice!
Everything we have around us whether great or small is a gift. We don't truly own anything because one day we will have to give an account of our stewardship. We can't take it with us but rather we ought to use what we have to purchase "the pearl of great price" and be active contributors to Jesus' Kingdom and where it all begins is here in our Una Familia of San Antonio de Padua!
When I left everything behind and sold all that I had to acquire the treasure of His Kingdom and be of service to Jesus, I have never found myself wanting or lacking, but free and joy-filled. I hope each of us may be persuaded to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us today to have this desire to acquire such a "pearl of great price" and be joyful and cheerful contributors to the building up of the Kingdom here around us.
Yours in Christ,