Sunday, July 24, 2011

What's it worth?

These crazy days of 100+ degree weather meant that I spent a little more time than normal sitting in my air conditioned room watching TV. When some form of Law & Order was not on, I watched some of this new wave of shows:

Pawn Stars - the story of a family run pawn shop in Las Vegas, and the things that people think are valuable enough to sell.

Auction Hunters - two guys who travel around, bidding low on abandoned storage units and hoping to find treasures inside to sell high.

American Pickers - two more guys who travel around to meet people who've amassed all sorts of stuff, hoping to buy some of it from them to sell others at a higher price.

The Gospel this weekend fit right into these shows, as Jesus gave 3 parables about treasure. The first two parables compliment each other: the first guy finds the treasure by accident; he wasn't expecting it and suddenly there it is. The second guy knows what treasure he's looking for, and has spent his life looking for perfection before he finally finds it. In both cases, Jesus says the same thing: each guy "sells all that he has" to purchase their respective treasures. A great question for us. Would we be so bold to make that kind of commitment to gain a treasure?

What about the treasure of our faith? The opening prayer of today's Mass has the great line, "God our Father and protector, without you nothing is holy, nothing has value"(the better translation is nothing is "worthwhile", but "value" works better for my train of thought). It makes sense; we'll pay more for something that we want more (that's why air conditioners cost more this time of year than snow blowers!). So, I suppose, the first question to be asked is, "Is our faith a 'treasure' in our eyes?" Is it precious? valuable? something to be protected and guarded?

What are we willing to pay (or give up) for our treasure? Will we give our time for it? This should be easy, our time costs relatively nothing. Will we give time to God each day? Do I give God time in mental prayer? Do I give God time each week by my Mass attendance? As a Priest, do I freely give the Church my time with the Breviary? Do I see it as something I have to do or as something I have to "get over with" so I can do something else? The same with Mass; Do I celebrate/participate at Mass because I "have" to, or because I "want" to? Is Mass an encounter with God to be treasured, or some kind of spiritual jury duty I want to get out of as soon as possible? Too many of the laity, most particularly this time of year, simply blow off Mass. Mass is unimportant to them, and therefore not really a treasure. It's sad, really, the way they don't see any need to give God part of their time, and yet when their life falls apart they expect the Church to give of her time telling them they did nothing wrong. No, God didn't care that you missed Mass because your children play summer baseball, soccer, or compete in martial arts or cheerleading. You just keep on reinforcing these twisted priorities in your child's head; they'll come in handy later on when you're in a nursing home desperate for visitors and little Bobby or Betty have Yankee tickets.

So what is our faith worth to us? If you had to have your faith appraised, what would you be able to show the appraiser to get him to up the value? This week's Gospel (along with the past 2 weekends) asked us to consider God's presence in the world and our response to Him.

1 comment:

Fr. James Weldon said...

"When some form of Law and Order is not on" when does this ever happen? It is always on.