Jesus said to his disciples:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”
Today’s gospel reading is one of my favorites because it is a call to live a radical life of faith in God. It reminds us to put the first things first and the second things second. The person in the gospel had a choice to make–he could keep his current possessions or sell it all for the treasure. Out of joy he sells it all to make the purchase, it says. It was not hard for him to make the call, it seems. He knows which is the more valuable and acts accordingly. Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is like that–much more valuable than whatever worldly goods we would exchange for it–with joy we should make that exchange too.
When we choose to sell all for the Pearl of Great Price, this means everything–we hold nothing back from God. Everything in our lives comes under his Lordship. Our relationships, finances, even our clothing choices.
We are commanded by God to not commit adultery. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” He is telling us that it is not enough just to avoid sinful acts. We have to root out the evil in our own thoughts and feelings before it leads to outward sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in #2339 that “either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.” When we practice self-mastery, we gain the freedom to choose the good.
As Christian women, if we are finding our worth in being a beloved child of God, we don’t need to dress in the morning to get as many men as possible to commit adultery in their hearts when they look at us. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:6 that, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.” I don’t think a millstone is very sexy. I am not saying we should go around wearing burqas, but we should not dress with the goal of leading others into temptation. If we love God’s people, we will want their good. If we will their good, we don’t try to make things harder for them, but rather, remove any burden we can.
When Christian women buy clothing and get dressed in the morning, they should be asking questions like these:
“Would I wear this in front of my pastor?”
“Would I want my daughter wearing this?”
“Would I want my husband or boyfriend to work next to someone dressed like this?”
“Would Our Blessed Mother have worn this if she were living today?”
“Might this tempt a weak brother if I wear it?”
“Jesus, do you approve of this?”
The Christian life is a paradox–by giving it all away to God, our deepest desires are fulfilled in return. When we seek to please God rather than men in our attire, we become even more beautiful and confident, which is much more attractive and desirable to most men than big exposed behinds and desperate cries for attention.