“When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

Jesus gives us two more (very short) parables about the Kingdom (Mt 13:44-46).  In the first, a man finds a treasure buried in a field.  He hides it again and sells all he has to purchase the field.  In the second, all possessions are given up when a pearl of great price is encountered.  The analogies are imperfect (what can compare to heaven?) but the meaning is clear: What would we not aside to attain the Kingdom of God?  If there is anything that stands in the way of our relationship with God or that might ultimately prevent us from gaining eternal life, it must be disposed of.  Consider the Beatitudes.  Two of the eight Beatitudes expressly deal with the Kingdom of God.  The first is this: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3).  We are to embrace poverty no matter how little or how much we have; that is, we are not to cling to any earthly thing, but only to God.  The second Beatitude that promises the Kingdom in so many words: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:10).  A radical move of divesting oneself of possessions and attachment to them can make a person be thought of as odd at best, but vilification may be in store as well (ask St. Francis of Assisi and many other saints who lived in privilege only to give it all away or detach themselves completely from possessions and status).  Let us never let possessions, or the challenges we face when breaking free of them, ever deter us from our desired destination: Heaven.

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