Thursday, July 24, 2014

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 17th Sunday Ordinary Time, Beverly Bingle, RCWP

What if God walked in here right now and said,
Ask me for something and I’ll give it to you?
Could we look past the needs of this day
and the holes in our own lives
to choose the wisdom of Solomon?
Could we give up all those things we want for ourselves
and ask for the buried treasure, the pearl of great price?
Of the three parables in today’s Gospel passage,
the Jesus Seminar scholars voted
that Jesus probably said something like the first two—
the buried treasure and the pearl of great price.
They think that the third
is typical of Matthew’s message to his community
because of its message of exclusion at the end of time.
Like Matthew’s community,
we have to ask ourselves
what the lesson is for us here and now.
What is the buried treasure,
the pearl of great price,
that for which we would give everything we have?
I suspect that, for most of us,
the priceless treasure is our relationships—
family, friends, neighbors, colleagues—
those people whose presence makes it a joy
to get up and go each morning.
In the past three weeks
three good men who have been part of my life
have died.
The passing of Curtis Cotton, Conrad Pritscher, and Bob Donnelly
leaves a hole in the fabric of relationships in my life.
Each, in his own way,
has been a treasure of wisdom and kindness
for me and for many other people.
This past week I watched the evening news broadcast
of an interview with a young man hospitalized in Gaza.
The young man’s face was burned and scarred,
and he struggled to comprehend
that his entire family had been killed
in the bombing that maimed him—
his wife, his toddler children, his parents, their in-laws. “There’s
no one left,” he said.
His priceless treasure had been senselessly stolen from him.
And then there were the families waiting at airports
for the Malaysian flight that would never land,
those pearls of greatest value to them
blown to pieces and strewn across a farm field in the Ukraine.
They would give everything they have
to learn that their loved ones had missed the flight,
but it was not to be.
Here at Holy Spirit
we have decided what the pearl of great value is
for us as a community.
We’re spending our time and energy and resources
to work on the impending disaster of climate change
that threatens to damage the relationships of all human beings
and, indeed, of all creation.
In our monthly book discussions
we’re exploring the theology of ecology.
In our upcoming video series
we’ll be educating ourselves and others in our community
about the morality and immorality
of the ways we are treating our environment.
We’ve decided that the treasure,
the pearl of great value to us,
is taking part in actions to change the systems
that contribute to environmental degradation,
to the destruction of this livable planet,
the environment that sustains us.
We’re exploring ways to be effective,
and we’re willing to put all our effort into it
because we believe that we will save lives
for countless future generations.
So we get to that third parable,
the one that comes not from Jesus but from Matthew—
the student who brings both the new and the old
out of the storeroom.
We’ll bring out science, we’ll use the internet—the new stuff.
And we’ll bring out ancient traditions
from farming and life in villages—the old stuff.
We’ll put them together
and work to make the kin-dom of God
alive and well in, at least, this part of the planet—
in Lucas County,
the Maumee watershed,
Lake Erie,
our own neighborhoods.
We’ll personally have to give up some things—
time, energy, resources.
We’ll personally have to change our lifestyles and habits.
But today’s scriptures empower us
with their message
that the treasure is worth our effort,
the pearl is worth the price.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

No comments: