17 June 2018
11th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B
•• Ezekiel 17:22-24 •• Psalm 92 •• 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 •• + Mark 4:26-34 ••
Title: Price. Value. Parable of the Seed.
[__01__] I read this on the website, the blog, of a real estate agent….
When you start thinking about buying your first house [or any house], it’s easy to let your emotions run the show. Before you know it, you’re stalking the owners of homes – you’re stalking homes for sale – maybe in person or on your home-browsing app, you’re rearranging your schedule to drive by your dream house to check it out, and you’re researching creative financing options on your calculator or computer do the whole thing with no money down.
Price is what we pay … value is what we get. Price is also what we pay right now… value is what we get or hope to have forever in our home.
[__02__] It seems as if the man of the parable got a pretty good price and has a lot of value in his property. He has land, seed, agriculture, a good climate of rain and sun and a field that is a sure thing, and small structure of the seed grows into a great crop of grain. It’s a sure thing for him. And, he does not even know how it happens. “He knows not how.” (cf. Mark 4:27)
What is the PRICE + VALUE of the Gospel, of the Kingdom?
I suggest that the Gospel has PRICE for us and a VALUE. A PRICE right now and VALUE for the future.
[__03__] E.g., the Commandments exact a price. And, they are PERCEPTIBLE. We can read the Commandments, touch the Commandments, pay attention to the Commandments,
The 10 Commandments cost us something to follow. According to these, we practice honesty: “thou shalt not bear false witness” we are told.
Being truthful is a tangible way for us to love and be loved – and avoid trouble. It - this honesty - might cost us something, but we believe: honesty is the best policy.
We want to be known by others that our word is good, that we are trustworthy.
And, the contrary is true. If someone has reason to be believe that I cannot be trusted, then it is like a mathematical proof. If someone were to have reason not to believe me – my “worth” or market price goes down -- it could really cost me.
Following the Commandments is a way to pay the price – TANGIBLY – to follow God’s ways.
[__04__] But the Gospel is not just about the PAYING the price right now in everything that I can see and touch. It’s about believing in what we cannot see – at least not right away.
For example, to believe that there is value in you and me, to recognize that I am a sinner and in need of God’s grace.
This is Good News. Knowing I am a sinner – or knowing another person is a sinner – does not make me – or you – less valuable. This is the paradox of mercy and POTENTIAL.
The paradox is that recognizing this sinfulness – in myself and others – helps to build community and communion and to avoid fear and find true friendship. Mercy – forgiveness – is our POTENTIAL, our FUTURE VALUE.
Sometimes, it happens in hidden ways, like the SEED that grows and the man “knows not how”. (Mark 4:27)
[__05__] This is also Father’s Day and last month, May, was Mother’s Day, have given us things both by what they PAID (they pay for a lot of stuff!) and by the VALUES they taught us.
[__06__] Recently a family member shared this episode with me, this experience with her young daughter – who had just started elementary school, kindergarten.
The child was anxious about the new habitat: classroom, teacher, classmates, et cetera et cetera.
[__07__] And, does not every person experience this at some critical juncture, some critical point? It might not be the first day of school in kindergarten or first grade, but might be the first day in a new school, or high school, or college, at any age. It could be the first day – for any of us – the first day or first few days of a new job, or the first few days or years of being retired.
After several months of this, this young child began to feel more comfortable, happier, more peaceful about the PRESENT MOMENT, and could see that going to school was worth it. I will pay the price of going to school, it has VALUE. I’m on board with this.
And, she announces to her mother, very independently, a can-do attitude - “Mommy, I’m OK at school now. I’m OK, you don’t have to worry about me anymore.”[**pause**]
That’s independence. She is 6. But, true stability and value is not something we turn ON or OFF independently at 6 or 66 or 96.
Because God does worry about us, Jesus is concerned about us, and we benefit by God’s love and concern. Heeding this concern, we learn things. And, we learn things by people being concerned about us. Their concern helps in our conversion.This stability is a value that we gain because God loves us, and we receive this love through our family and friendships so that we can know that we are precious and valued in God’s eyes. [__fin__]