What Do I Ask of God?
Suppose God appeared to you in a dream and said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Would you, would I, ask for a long life? health for us and our family? a good job that enables us to pay the bills? These are all good things, but not the “pearl of great price” to which Jesus likened the kingdom of God in today’s Gospel. When Solomon was given this directive, he asked for “an understanding heart” that he might serve God’s people as their king and “distinguish right from wrong.” (Kings 3: 6-7) Solomon was young when he gave this answer, but it seems he was already humble and wise enough to ask for what he really needed and what God desired. So God gave him an even greater heart full of wisdom and understanding. No matter what my age, am I wise enough to make a request like Solomon’s?
When Jesus talks about the kingdom of heaven, he relies on a poetic device, the simile. As a Jew, he grew up praying the poetry of the psalms so was familiar with simile which captures in an image what would take many words to describe. The kingdom of heaven, the reign of God, is LIKE a treasure buried in a field, is LIKE a pearl of great price. What the images have in common is their high value and the cost they exact if sought or purchased. Something so precious does not come cheap. If I have a wise heart that desires God’s love and God’s reign on earth, I am willing to pay the price, so sacrifice lesser treasures for the most precious one.
Those who value the pearl of great price believe that “all things work together for good for those who love God. . .” (Rom. 8:28). It may not appear to be so when times are dark, obstacles seem insurmountable, and all things seem to be crumbling around us, but the wise and understanding heart believes that all is not lost, that eventually things will “work for good.” With the psalmist we pray, “For I love your commands more than gold, however fine. For in all your precepts I go forward.” (Ps 119)
Sr. Marie Lucey
Director of Advocacy and Member Relations
That we may have the wisdom to recognize the pearl of great price and the courage to seek it, let us pray…
That we may trust that all things work for good for those who love God, let us pray…