Forsaking all else

Do you remember the phrase, “and forsaking all else”?

It came to me while reading today’s scripture and I was thinking of Matthew chapter 13, verse 44 – 46. The story of the “pearl of great price”. The passage goes like this, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and forsaking all else he bought it.”

It is an interesting passage, but in a way makes sense. The assumption is that he came upon it accidentally and decided that He was going to get it no matter what it takes. Again, this sort of makes sense. If we came upon a pearl, or a house, or a car of great worth and we decided that we “had to have it”, we would probably find a way.

This passage was not the only story in that section of Matthew. The verse right before it goes, ““The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

This story is a little bit sketchy-er. What was the guy doing in the field digging stuff up? And when he found something why didn’t he tell the property owner? The purpose is not in details it is in the idea. What would we not do to acquire something that we really wanted? If we were into antique widgets, and passing through Leadville, if we stopped at farmers market and saw the exact widget that you needed to complete your collection what would you do?

You would talk it up, you would see what it would take, how much it would cost, what you would have to part with it order for you to have it. Think of the intensity, think of your determination. You would not take “no” for an answer.

In Matthew, he is talking about the Kingdom of heaven. The third of the Luminous Mysteries, the Third Mystery of Light – the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God. So, why tell stories bout pears and treasures? Why not just tell us about the kingdom? You know, just make it a travel brochure pitch. Sort of like laying out how many rooms, the evening shuffleboard, the late night entertainment …
Because none of those come with the intensity of a found treasure. A travel brochure is nice but where is the intensity of “and forsaking all else”?

In today’s gospel Jesus refuses to see his mother because he is forsaking all others except those that do “the will of my heavenly father.” That is a bit harsh, but it speaks directly to the point.
If we are selling everything in order to acquire the kingdom of God” what does everything mean? Is it breaking open the piggy bank, or is it more? Is it selling off a few possessions, or is it more? It is loosing some friends or relatives, or is it more?

When you look up “forsaking all else” in the bible you will find more than these to passages. As a matter of fact, these two are not even the amongst the top 7. Luke 14:33 says, “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions”. Matthew 19:29 says, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” Now this sounds like a deal, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

In Philippians 3 verse 11, Saint Paul sums it up this way, “ But all those things that I might count as profit I now reckon as loss for Christ’s sake. Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ and be completely united with him.” That is what forsaking all else seems to mean to me.

Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.

Alleluia, alleluia.

MT 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

July 19, 2022

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