Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Exodus 34:29-35; Matthew 13:44-46)
“Do not be afraid,” Pope John Paul II told participants of World Youth Day in 1993, “to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern ‘metropolis.'” He meant that the rewards are worth any price paid in letting go of personal desires. It is the same message that Jesus conveys in the gospel today.
Both the parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price invite listeners to make sacrifices for the Kingdom of God. They are not to worry that in walking the way of the Lord they will forego sensual pleasure and the company of associates. Like an investment in education, sacrifices for the sake of the Kingdom pay multiple dividends in terms of happiness and friendship.
Yet even we, who are inclined to go to church, sometimes worry. A woman argues that it would be all right to accompany friends to a racy movie. No, we are better to tell our friends that B movies are harmful for them as well as for ourselves. Surely John Paul had situations such as this in mind when he invited the youth a generation ago not to be afraid.