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The Perspective of Justice
17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Year A
July 30, 2023
Gerald Darring

One Really Valuable Pearl

Jesus likens the kingdom to a man who finds a buried treasure and sells all that he has so that he can buy the field containing the treasure.

He likens the kingdom to a merchant who sells all that he has in order to be able to buy one really valuable pearl.

What is the one really valuable pearl that we are willing to sacrifice everything in order to have? What is that buried treasure for which we would be willing to sacrifice everything?

The thing that Solomon wanted most was “an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.”

Isn’t it possible that what we want most is something very selfish: possessions, security, power, pleasure, comfort?

What would the world be like if, instead of these, our one really valuable pearl was something like world peace based on justice for all? or the development of a classless society based on respect for all and the priority of need over want? Or the worship of God through prayer, service, and a preferential option for the poor?

What would the world be like? Jesus says it would be like the kingdom.

The cross of Jesus Christ shows us the deficiency of other value systems. Jesus yielded up his life for us in perfect loving union with the Father’s will, and this is the meaning of his life which also gives meaning to our lives as his followers.

If we can acknowledge selfishness as folly and self-sacrifice as victory, if we can love enemies, be vulnerable to injustice and, in being so, still say that we have triumphed, then we shall have learned to live in Christ Jesus.

U.S. Bishops, To Live in Christ Jesus, 1976:116.

Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at

Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go