17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Together with the Pearl
(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus again tells three parables, just like last week! He must really like telling parables. He knows that listening to parables helps us to think about the Kingdom of God. Last week, when there were three parables, we thought about the middle parable--the Parable of the Mustard Seed, that teeny-tiny seed that somehow grows and changes into a tree! This week, let's again look at the middle parable--the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value. Once again, let's ask ourselves, what does Jesus want us to know?
“The kingdom of God is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Hmm. What does Jesus want us to know?
The kingdom of God is like a merchant in search of fine pearls
A merchant is someone who buys things and sells things. That is his or her job. This merchant buys and sells pearls.
Do you know what a pearl is? It is a small white bead, so very precious. It is made by an oyster found in the ocean. An oyster has two shells. Sometimes a little grain of sand gets caught between the shells, and the oyster doesn't like that. It rubs at the piece of sand, covering it with a liquid so that the sand feels smoother. The liquid hardens and after a long, long while, a beautiful white pearl forms. So sometimes--not every time, but maybe sometimes--when people open an oyster, they find a pearl!
The merchant has been buying and selling pearls so he knows what to look for. He has probably seen many pearls. He knows what the best pearls are like. But what happens?
on finding one pearl of great value
One pearl. One pearl of great value. So, so special. Can you imagine what it would be like? What makes it so special?
The merchant knows, doesn't he? He knows that this one is special. And what else does he know? He wants it. He must be with that pearl.
So what does he do?
he went and sold all that he had
All the other pearls he had been buying--he sells them all.
and bought it.
The merchant has the pearl! Finally, finally, he has it.
What does he do now? Jesus doesn't say. At the end of the parable, the merchant has bought the pearl. All the buying and selling has stopped. All movement has stopped. He has the pearl. The merchant is still.
Jesus says, the kingdom of God is like this. I wonder what he can mean?
The merchant is with the pearl and the pearl is with the merchant.
What can we say to God about the Kingdom?
We can try being still like the merchant with the pearl. And then, we can whisper something to God. It can be just one word. I wonder what you will whisper to God.