Homily – July 30, 2017

There have been photos in the news recently showing the very young Queen Elizabeth being crowned as Queen of the British Empire. We can just imagine how nervous and uncertain she must have been taking on such a responsibility at such at such a young age.

In our first reading we hear of young king Solomon and his encounter with God. God made Solomon an unbelievable offer, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ Solomon knew his limitations and his problems. He had an older brother who should have been made king but was passed over by King David, he wasn’t sure of the loyalty of his generals and advisors. In the face of the many things Solomon could have requested David humbly asked for an understand mind, that he be able to discern between good and evil. This young king wasn’t interested in wealth and power and expanding his empire. He just wanted to be a good ruler doing what was right and just for all his people.

An understanding mind to help him to know what is best for the people, especially the poor, the widows, the orphans. An understanding mind to appreciate the struggles of the poorest of his people. An understanding mind to grasp what was right and what was wrong. This young and inexperienced king knew in his heart that great wealth and power were not what he needed to govern God’s great people. This was Solomon’s pearl of great price.

Through the ages writers and thinkers claimed that the root desires of the human heart are the pride of power – think of the mess the most powerful man of the most powerful nation in the world has created for himself. The second driving force of the human heart is the accumulation of wealth, greed is good. The third driving force is the unbridled experience of pleasure. Experience shows us time and time again that all these drives are one way streets to nowhere. Powerful people come and go, wealth is accumulated and lost and even the most intense of pleasures become jaded.

We’ve all heard people say, ‘I’d give anything for… good health, a better job, this deal to succeed – whatever. They are searching for their hidden treasure, their pearl of great price.

Think on this for a moment. We are God’s hidden treasure, God’s pearl of great price. When God found us God bought us, not with gold or silver but with the precious blood of Jesus.

What is the hidden treasure we seek, what is our pearl of great price? Could it be in the eureka experience of realizing ‘not that we’ve found God but that God first found us’. Grasping such a wonder we are willing to let go of everything that we thought of importance and value and gladly respond to God’s loving movement toward us. The farmer and the merchant first had to find the hidden treasure, the pearl and then sell everything to purchase then. It was the finding that started the whole process. It is our finding, our grasping the wonder of John’s teaching when he tells us, this is the wonder, this is the treasure, this is the pearl, God first love us and sent his son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.’ Men and women who grasp this truth, ‘God first loved us’ will let go of everything else to embrace that pearl of great price and respond as best they by living and loving and healing and forgiving every person who comes into their lives, doing for other what God in Christ did for them.