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Homily of Bishop William Crean – 17th Sunday A – 30th July 2023

17th Sunday A

St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh

30th July 2023

“A pearl of great price”

My friends,

Truth? What is that? was Pilates’ question to Jesus as he sought to understand the man who stood before him. Indeed, he spoke of himself as the Way, the Truth and Life giving us the essence in the phrase “The truth will set you free”.

Because knowing what is true is so important in life, in relationships, in family, business and society we are always wondering who to believe and what to believe and trust. Life is built on trust in each other – that’s why we have vows, oaths and promises which we make to each other so that we can live free from suspicion.

An added dimension for us to-day is the impact of advertising, social media and the marketing of ideology ranging from how we should parent children, what we should be viewing, how we should think and what our ambitions should be.

Unless one is well anchored in one’s sense of self, with clear focus on what is right, good and true it is easy and understandable if one is confused. And many are confused. For various reasons many have jettisoned the Church as an institution because of its failure and sinfulness. In doing so, sadly, faith in the Lord Jesus and his goodness is also jettisoned from the heart of life so that the wisdom and truth he offers is not cherished and valued adequately to influence and guide choices and decisions.

We, as society, are currently obsessed with being like all other liberal democracies – where the focus is constantly on the expansion of personal, individual freedom without consideration of its impact on others.

The Gospel speaks of the “pearl of great price” to help us grasp the inestimable treasure that is ours in faith. It neither rejects the past or frowns on modernity. The image of the dragnet is so powerful and clear. As the fisherman sifted their nets keeping the good and valuable so we too, blessed as we are with trust in Jesus as the truth, we too, from the dragnet of our lives cherish what is best, noble and true, gifting us with a “discerning judgment” like that requested and given to Solomon.

Sadly, many among us find it so hard to resist the allure of marketing and messaging that promises heaven on earth. We cannot bypass truth, we cannot bypass reality.

It is staying close to the reality of our lives and engaging all with a positive outlook that we come to live in freedom and maturity. That’s the “pearl of great price”.

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