The Parables of the Kingdom - Part 3 - Mons Joao Cla Dias EP
III - Parable of the Pearl of Great Value
"The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."
"The kingdom of heaven is similar not to the merchant, but rather to the pearl; just as in the present parable, it is not like the man who finds the treasure, but rather the treasure in question." In Antiquity, pearls were considered to be of inestimable value. Hence, whoever found a pearl of excellent quality for sale was willing to vend all his goods to purchase it. The text speaks to us of 'a merchant in search of fine pearls.' Upon acquiring a pearl of the highest quality, he does not consider selling it - at least the Gospels mention nothing in this respect.
Many authors debate the secondary details. What is important to bear in mind is that this parable "has the same meaning as the previous one, differing only in matter," in other words, if circumstances should demand it, one must abandon everything one owns to obtain this treasure or pearl which is non other than the Kingdom of Heaven.
St. John Chrysostom ponders this subject: "The gospel preaching is not only a font of multiple riches - as is a treasure - but it is also precious as a pearl." And further on, completing his though, he affirms: "The truth is one; it cannot be divided into various parts. Therefore only one pearl is said to be found. And just as one who possesses a pearl of great value, knows well its wealth, while it often goes unknown by others because it is so small it can be concealed in a hand, so it is in the preaching of the Gospel; they who posses it know that they are rich, while unbelievers, not knowing of this treasure know not its value."
In Fact, in those early times, how many pagan thinkers adhered to the truth of Christianity, feeling attracted by its doctrine - some even giving their lives for love of it? They were "good pearl merchants".
On the other hand, many today have abandoned the "pearl" of the truth, preferring to descend the precipice of error, equivocation and confusion. They throw themselves fearlessly into the murky waters of indifference and tepidity with regard to their eternal salvation, the Kingdom, and even God. For these souls, the sense of being becomes increasingly torpid, almost reaching the point of no longer distinguishing between good and evil, beauty and ugliness, truth and error.
And how many know the truth, yet fail to dedicate themselves to it merely through a lack of generosity? They do not "sell everything they possess..." And who, in today's world, is willing to sacrifice all to remain in a state of grace?
The two parables complement each other harmoniously. One refers to the pulchrum of the Kingdom (that of the pearl); the other seeks to instil the concept of gain, utility and reward (that of the treasure). In the latter, the Kingdom is reflected as a freely bestowed gift ("find"); in the former, the effort ("search") is emphasized. In both, it becomes obvious that everyone seeking to acquire the Kingdom of Heaven must become detached from the goods of this earth.