In today's gospel reading from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Matthew 13:44-52), Jesus speaks about finding a pearl of great price--so great in value as to inspire the finder to sell everything else in their life so that the pearl becomes everything to them. True Catholicism, in effect, true and authentic Apostolic Christianity, views the pearl of great price as Jesus Christ Himself. This pearl, moreover, comes in many forms: in His True Presence in the Eucharist, in His Sacred Scripture, in all seven sacraments, in the zenith of His One Perpetuated, Salvific Sacrifice in the Sacred Liturgy (the Mass), in the priest, in the congregation--especially when they gather in prayer and charity, in Apostolic Tradition and in the Apostolic Teaching Magisterium of the Pope and Bishops, in the poor and the suffering, in those who respond to the Holy Spirit and extend Jesus' Mercy to the poor, and wherever the Spirit inspires goodness, truth and beauty.
But there are many imitation pearls on the open market of life.
There is the pearl of PC acceptance. Following the popular culture, with all its twists and changes, is a pearl which numbs the mind of God's grace, and deadens the conscience to the Holy Spirit. The pearl of false ideology leads to rationalization about life--rationalizing baby killing, and granny killing as 'women's reproductive rights' and 'mercy killing.' Power and fame and materialism and hedonism and scientism and skepticism are also the glorified pearl of the current American landscape. Power and fame make one God the Father, riches and pleasure make one the Lord of the world, and scientism and skepticism make one the Holy Spirit amongst the powers that be in this world.
But the imitation pearl of American idolatry only leads to eventual boredom, despair, avarice, and self-loathing.
For the only pearl which brings joy in suffering, hope in tragedy, and purpose in a boisterous and distraction-filled world, is the pearl of Divine Mercy, the Pearl of sure objective Truth, the pearl of everlasting hope, and the pearl of Crucified Love, found only in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Savior of the world--which, amazingly, includes you and I.