What do we need to have good life? Very often we think we need a lot of things. We try to fill our lives with material possessions and we choke on them. We seek more friends, approval, and more connections, but as a result we get greatly disappointed. Frequently instead of being fully alive, we barely exist while living in fear of losing things and status or being overwhelmed by the amount of activities we must perform.
A renowned psychologist and thinker Erich Fromm addressed this issue in his book titled “To have or to be.” In his work Erich Fromm claims that the more we focus on “to have” the less we are able “to be.” His thesis goes well with the gospel’s understanding of possessions and priorities one should have in life. Life with God goes like this: it’s all or nothing. There cannot be compromise, for eternal life is worth everything. As long as we try to keep something for ourselves we cannot pursue the life of grace and fully experience the eternal life growing within us. It is also an invitation from Jesus in this Sunday’s gospel to have set our hearts on one treasure only—God.
In the gospel our Lord Jesus used the parable of the treasure buried in the field and the pearl of great price. To our modern mind these two parables do not make much sense, for one can ask “why not to dig out the treasure and run away?” Or “why does one have to sell his or her property in order to buy the pearl of exceptional beauty?” Let us briefly explain these two images while placing in the spiritual context.
Why does one would have to purchase a field to get the treasure? The answer is very simple—it is like today: whatever you find on your lot is yours. The spiritual meaning of the parable is that each follower of Christ must “buy the field,” which is life in God. This means one has to detach himself from the worldly attachments and invest solely in the heavenly affairs.
The parable of the merchant who purchased the pearl of great price is even more challenging in a sense that no one would do it in real life. However, Jesus uses a hyperbole to stress the importance of the value of the pearl that is beyond any price and it is worth everything, even selling one’s possessions that are worth nothing compared with the priceless pearl.
Ultimately, the treasure in the field and the pearl is the faith in Jesus. So one must “sell” everything else in order to “purchase” it. This applies to all of us whether we are religious or secular. That is, we must leave behind everything: false beliefs, fear and anxiety, even natural family bonds, if they are obstacles to faith in Jesus. The faith in Christ is the pearl of the great price and exceptional beauty, because it opens for us the realm of heaven.
Let us pray for the spirit of detachment so that we may follow Christ unreservedly and find the way to salvation.
Have a blessed week.
Fr. Janusz Mocarski, Administrator