Sunday, July 26
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Here is my homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time…
A man walking alone on the beach hears a voice from above, and the voice says, “Dig!”
The man looks around to make sure he is not having hallucinations, and then he hears the voice again: “I said, dig!”
So, with bare hands, he digs down into the sand and finds a treasure chest buried there.
The voice from above says, “Open it.”
He pries the chest open and finds it full of cash.
The voice says, “To the casino.” (This man must have lived in Southern California where there are casinos everywhere.)
The man carries the chest full of money into the casino and the voice says, “Roulette.”
He goes to the roulette table and the voice says, “Number 27.”
He bets everything on 27.
The croupier throws the ball and it bounces and bounces and bounces around the wheel and finally comes to a stop on number 26.
There is a moment of stunned silence. The man looks upward from where he has been hearing the voice.
There is a prolonged silence and finally the voice from above says, “Oh, damn!”
There are many voices in the world competing for our attention. To which voices do we listen? To what are looking to find meaning, to find the prize, to find our treasure?
In today’s Gospel we are reminded of the buried treasure and the pearl of great price which are sought after, with no expense or sacrifice being spared.
The Gospel speaks of treasure and our quest to attain it.
The Gospel reminds us that our true treasure is our faith. Our true treasure is Jesus. Our true treasure is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Good News it brings.
How are we using our “treasure,” our faith during these challenging days of the pandemic and social unrest in our society?
Are we so tired of the politics, even the politics of just wearing a simple mask, a facial covering, that we are becoming bitter or angry or just ignoring or denying the reality of the pandemic and its effects?
Or are we using the strength of our faith, our treasure, to remain engaged, and willing to participate in thoughtful conversation with others about the need to listen to and follow the advice of science and scientific expertise in the ways to control the spread of the virus until a vaccine becomes available?
How are we using our treasure, the gift of our faith, in these days of the social unrest in our country?
Recently I received an email from someone that said: “I am not a racist. And I am tired.”
Those words spoke to me and pierced my heart. What I heard in those words: “I am not willing to engage in this conversation, in this effort…I am not a racist…so I do not need to be involved….I do not need to spend any time or effort to understand…They, whomever, they are...it is all their problem or their concerns…I am right…they are wrong…I close myself off from trying to better understand what is happening in our society and in our world.”
When we have found the pearl of great price, the treasure of our faith, when we are Disciples of Jesus, as difficult as it may be at times, we can never say, “I am tired…”
We can never say “I am tired of the Gospel…I am tired of Jesus…I am tired of trying to do what Jesus would do…I am tired of trying to understand…I am tired of trying to create a better world, a world that is in the image of the way in which God sees the world and wants the world to be.”
At times, yes, we say, “I am tired.” I get tired. You get tired. But this is what Parish/Church is all about. When I am tired, you encourage me. When you are tired, I encourage you. We are here to support and help each other.
“I am tired” is never the final word for us!
When we say, “I am tired,” we are throwing away the Pearl of Great Price, the Treasure that God wants to give us and has given us.
Let us not through God’s gift back in God’s face!
We gather together around God’s table today to share in the Eucharist. It is this food and drink that strengthens us, that refreshes us, and renews us when we are tired.
This food gives us what we need to keep on keeping on!
Let us always remember that when we are willing to pay the price for the “Pearl of Great Value” and to make the necessary sacrifices to bet on Jesus and the Good News, to listen to His voice, we are guaranteed to win!