Discipleship Has a Price

What is our mission as Christians? You might respond by quoting Matthew 28:19-20, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” And you would be correct.

In other words, then, our goal, our mission is to make the Kingdom of Heaven present here on earth. But, in order to do that, it is helpful to first understand what the Kingdom of Heaven is.

But there is no possible way for us to understand what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, what with our tendency toward sin and our limited human minds. So what are we to do?

Listen to Jesus, of course! He would know better than anyone what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. He also knows better than anyone just how best to teach us – his followers – and so he employs the help of parables.

We’ve heard a number of parables over the past few Sundays, which taught us about a number of different things. Today, though, we hear about the Kingdom of Heaven being like buried treasure and also like a pearl of great price. How does that help our understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven and so help us on our mission?

The person who finds the treasure buried in a field and buries it again – he goes and sells all that he has in order to purchase the field with the treasure. Same goes for the merchant. Once he finds the pearl of great price, he sells all that he has in order to buy that particular pearl.

We, as humans, understand money and the value attached to items based on their price. Both the land containing the buried treasure and the pearl must have been very expensive – so much so that both the seekers had to sell everything that they had in order to obtain the treasure and the pearl.

This is a harsh reality, one we also understand. Could you imagine emptying your bank accounts and trading in all your assets to purchase one single, solitary item? It’s unthinkable in today’s world and probably just as crazy in ancient times too.

That’s how precious the Kingdom of Heaven is. It is worth more than anything we could ever own or ever imagine and, yet, it is a possession promised to each and every one of us through our Baptism and Jesus’ death on the cross. It is our reward and our end goal – eternal life with God in Heaven – and we must give up all that we have and all that we are in order to achieve the holiness necessary to get there, which involves following in the footsteps of Jesus, preaching His Gospel and performing works of mercy and love.

God never said it would be easy, just like I’m sure it wasn’t easy to sell everything to purchase the land with the treasure and the pearl of great price. Yet it was still done with joy because the beholder knew the true value of the gift he was seeking. May we strive to build the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth with the same joy!

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Erin is a Cleveland native and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.