Archive for July, 2020

Treasure? 7-26-20

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

I would like to share with you two short stories to help
break open our gospel parables.
There was this poor tailor who lived in Krakow. He
was a very pious man. One night he had a dream in which a
voice said to him, “If you go to Prague and dig beneath a
certain tree behind the emperor’s castle, you will find a great
Since the poor man placed great trust in dreams, he set
out the very next day for Prague. However, when he got
there he found the castle was guarded. Unable to get across
the bridge, he lived under it for a while. While there he
became friends with the captain of the guard. One day he
shared his story with him. He said,
“I had a dream that if I got into the castle grounds, and
went to a certain tree and dug there, I would find a treasure.” “You’re a very foolish man,” said the captain. “You
shouldn’t believe that sort of thing. I have dreams myself.
Once I dreamed that over in Krakow there lived a poor but
wise tailor, not unlike yourself. I dreamt that if I went to his
house, and dug behind his stove, I would find a treasure there
that somebody had buried a long time ago. Of course, I
dismissed it as foolishness.”
The tailor thanked him, went back home, dug behind
his own hearth and found the treasure.
We will never be happy unless we find the treasure that
God has hidden in our own field. That is, until we have
found the treasure of our own worth as God’s children.
The painter, Vincent Van Gogh, suffered a lot from ill
health. Consequently he often had to call on the services of
doctors. But he scarcely had any money to pay the doctors.
On one occasion, after a certain doctor had taken care of him and nursed him back to health, Vincent wanted to
show his gratitude in his own way. He painted the doctor’s portrait and made him a present of it. However, the doctor
didn’t think much of the painting. He accepted it alright but
put it in his attic. There it took the place of a broken
windowpane, serving the purpose of keeping out the drafts.
The doctor threw away a treasure. Today, Van Gogh’s
paintings are almost beyond price.
In his love for us God has given each of us a great
treasure – the treasure of our divine dignity as children. Let
us be careful lest we throw it away.
Whoever has ears ought to hear!

The Magic Seed? 7-19-2020

Sunday, July 19th, 2020

There was once a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she
went to a holy man and said, “What prayers, what magical incantations
do you have to bring my son back to life?”
Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her,
“Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow.
We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.”
The women set off at once in search of the magical mustard seed.
She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door and said, “I
am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a
place? It is very important to me.”
They told her, “You’ve certainly come to the wrong place,” and
began to describe all the tragic things that had recently befallen them.
The women said to herself, “Who is better able to help these
unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?” She stayed to comfort them, and then went on in her search for a home that
had never known sorrow.
But wherever she turned, in hovels and in palaces, she found one
tale after another of sadness and misfortune. Ultimately, she became so
involved in ministering to other people’s grief that she forgot about her
quest for the magical mustard seed, never realizing that her small
gestures of care, and concern and compassion, had in fact, driven the
sorrow out of her life.
Lord, we spend so much energy frantically searching
for that magical elixir, that magical cure to take away
our grief, our loneliness, the hurting parts of our life
that need fixing. Help us remember today, this week,
that one small gesture on our part, a smile, a handshake,
a hug, a phone call, a short visit, a few encouraging
words….is the best medicine to bring about real healing for ourselves and for others. Amen

A New Parable 7-12-2020

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

Jesus might have told this parable:
“A terrible sickness struck a village. The people were terrified of
getting sick and wanted to know what to do”.
The doctor asked the people to wear face masks to protect one
another. We will! They all said. Some did for a while, but they found
the masks uncomfortable, and made it difficult to breathe, so they soon
stopped wearing them.
The Rabbi asked the people to share their food with the poor and
sick. We will! They all promised. But many became more and more
concerned for their own needs and that of their families, so they kept
their barns and larders full – and locked.
The mayor asked the merchants to close their shops and innkeepers
to close their taverns so people would not gather and spread the sickness.
We will! They all agreed. They did so for a few days, but their profits
dropped, and they could not pay their help, so slowly, one by one, they
quietly re-opened. Soon, the sickness took the lives of many in the poor village.
But then there were the good folk who understood that wearing
face masks protected others from the sickness, who kept their distance
from one another so the sickness would not spread, (even though they
missed one another terribly), who readily shared what they had with
those who had little. Oh, it was very hard, and there were many days
when they wanted to give up. But they persevered.
Because of them, many people did not get sick and survived.
Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because
they hear”, Jesus would have said.
The parable of the sower challenges us to check the “thinness” of
the soil in our hearts that results in our faith withering in the noonday
heat; the “rockiness” of self-centeredness and avarice that prevents
God’s “seed” of generosity and peace from taking root in us; the
“thorns” of bigotry and self-righteousness that “choke” the possibility of
providing for the poor, healing the broken, lifting up the fallen. Our own response to the coronavirus is a good measure of the “richness” of our faith and its potential for the “seed” of God’s Word to take root and
realize in our lives the harvest of justice and compassion that is the
Kingdom of God.