Cimply Putting It…
We are rounding second heading for home...to use a baseball analogy to indicate that we are half way there. We have been in our gym for our weekend Masses for the past three weeks and we will be here for the next three. Then it is back to our usual church home. Again, thank you for your patience throughout this time of renovation. I am thankful that you have joined us for worship and are hanging in there with us during this transition period.
Remember when Jesus was sending his disciples out to do their ministry he told them to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Jesus also liked to use stories to illustrate his points. So here are a couple of stories of people who were shrewd.
Did you hear the story of the ‘pricey donkey’? Seems a city boy moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. When the farmer drove up, he said, “Sorry, but I have bad news: the donkey died.” “Well, then just give me my money back,” said the boy. “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already,” the old farmer said. “OK, then just unload the donkey,” the city boy said. “What ya gonna do with him?” the farmer questioned. “I’m going to raffle him off,” the boy said. “You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!” “Sure I can. Watch me. I just won’t tell anyone he’s dead.” Well a month passed, and finally the farmer had reason to go to the city, and once there, he ran into the boy. “What ever happened with that dead donkey?” he asked the boy. “I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898.” “Didn’t anyone complain?” “Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back!”
Did you hear about little Johnny who used to hang out at the local corner grocery store? The owner didn’t know what little Johnny’s problem was, but the other boys would constantly tease him. They would always comment that he was “two bricks shy of a load” or “two pickles short of a barrel”. To prove it, sometimes they would offer Johnny his choice between a nickel and a dime and Johnny would always take the nickel—they were certain it was because the nickel was bigger. One day after Johnny grabbed the nickel, the storeowner took him aside and said, “Johnny, those boys are making fun of you. They think you don’t know the dime is worth more than the nickel. Are you grabbing the nickel because it is bigger, or what?” Johnny turned toward the storeowner, and with a big grin on his face said, “Well, if I took the dime, they’d stop doing it, and so far I’ve saved $20!”
There was a little child in church and he watched the ushers passing around the offering plates. When they neared the place where he sat, the youngster piped up so that all around him could hear: “Don’t pay for me Daddy, I’m under five.”
Stories offer us word pictures of who and what we are about. Sometimes the humorous ones nudge us to consider some deeper truths. Jesus wanted his believers to grasp the Kingdom of God in all its fullness, so he told stories and each one had some sense of urgency about it.
There is certainly a lot of bad news in our world. But God did not intend it to be this way. Sadly, we have the potential and it seems like we are doing a pretty good job of it, of making it a cesspool. But for those of us who keep our eyes on Christ, we can find that the Kingdom He talked about has its beginnings right here on earth. When it comes to its fullness it will be like the mustard seed grown to colossal size, a treasure joyfully discovered, a pearl sacrificially bought, a loaf of bread, risen from a bit of yeast, now broken and given for all who would receive it, even the most unlike creatures caught up with us in the net of life.
But the offer won’t go forever. Like the little boy said at offering time, “You don’t have to pay for me. I’m under five.” There comes a time when our grace period runs out.
A certain man went to Church one Sunday...He frowned when the pianist missed a note. He stared menacingly at two whispering teenagers. He looked repeatedly at his watch. When the offering plate was passed he felt that the usher was watching to see how much he gave. During the sermon, he felt pleased with himself when he caught the priest making a slip of tongue. He was tight-lipped during all of the hymn singing. As he slipped out the back door during Communion, he muttered…“that was terrible, why do I bother…”
A certain other man went to Church one Sunday...He chuckled at the sight of a father exchanging hugs with the toddler draped over his shoulder. At the Offertory he wondered, “some of this is for the needy. God has given me so much—am I giving enough?” He struggled honestly with the Scripture readings to pick something to live by. Something in the sermon helped him with a question he had often thought about. He enthusiastically joined in the singing of the hymns. As he left the Church, he thought: “how good it is to be here together in God’s presence.”
Both men went to the same Church, on the same Sunday, and each found exactly what he was looking for. What are you and I looking for?
I’m so glad for this wonderful parish of St. Michael. It helps me in my search for what I am looking for to bring forth the Kingdom of God in my life and in the lives of others this week.
Make it a great week. clc