17th Sunday Ordinary time, 7-30-17 , at a 1st Cmmunion
1 Kings 3:5-12;Psm: 119:57, 72, 76-77,27-128, 129-130; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44 -46
I’d like to ask you all a question. If you were walking down a sidewalk, and you saw a penny on that sidewalk, what would you do? It’s just a penny, not even a shinny one, which really won’t buy anything. How many of you would stop and pick it up, raise your hand? Let’s go all the way with this. What, instead of a penny, you saw a $100 bill, just there on the sidewalk, and people just walking around it. How many of you would you pick it up?
What’s the difference between a penny and a $100 bill? They’re both money, but the bill is worth a lot more. It has more value. I can think of a lot of things I can get with a $100. For a few minutes, anyway, it makes me feel kind of rich. I could go to a fancy restaurant and get a lobster dinner, and even have desert! I could buy new clothes, or a game. Even after I had spent it all, I’d still feel like I’d had a really great day.
In our first reading, King Solomon dreamed about God asking him, if he could have anything he asked for, what would it be? Hmm, that could be a really hard choice. What to ask for?? Solomon had an answer. He said to God, “You made me a King over a big country, with lots of people. I don’t know how to be a good king. Make me wise, that’s what I want. Help me know right from wrong, and help me understand how to make good decisions for all these people.” Well, God was very happy with what Solomon asked for. God replied, “I will make you so wise and so understanding, that there will never be anyone else as wise as you. And that’s not all – I will make you rich and powerful, too, even though you didn’t ask for that.” Being wise is more valuable than money!
Then we have the stories that Jesus told about two men who found something very valuable. One man found buried treasure in a field, probably lots of gold. Another man found a beautiful special pearl. The men thought, “WOW! What fantastic treasure and WOW! There will never be another pearl as beautiful as this one.” But they weren’t rich men, and they had to sell every single thing they owned to buy the field with the treasure and to buy the perfect pearl.
You might think that they would be sad to sell everything they had. But oh no, they were so happy, so filled with joy, they couldn’t stop smiling and they couldn’t stop yelling, “Yahoo.”
Why did Jesus tell these stories? Jesus started the stories by saying, “The Kingdom of heaven is like…” Jesus is giving us clues, hints, little ideas about God. What is God’s kingdom like? It’s a very good question to ask this special day when Tyler takes communion with us for the very first time, because taking communion is one way to start being part of God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom isn’t a country, or a castle that we can drive to. We need to know more.
We know that being with God and learning to be more like God is very important, very valuable, more important and valuable than anything else we ever do or that we ever have. If you are wise like Solomon, you want to get to know God and love people like God does. You can’t buy the Kingdom of God, but God’s kingdom is so very much better than we can even imagine. When we are in God’s kingdom, the Bible says, there will be no more sadness, no more crying, no more pain. Being with God means being full of love and joy, for ourselves, for others, and for God. Fear and worry will be forgotten.
But the part I like most about the Kingdom of Heaven is that it is already beginning. The Kingdom of Heaven even now breaks through the bad times like sun breaks through the clouds after the rain. How does the Kingdom come? Well, we are part of it. Remember that $100 dollar bill? If you bought food with that $100 for people who were hungry and had no money, then you could show them a little bit of what God is like. When you are kind to someone who is sad or scared, then they see a little bit of God. When you pray to God about your needs and your problems, there’s more God. When you read your Bible, more God. As we love God more, we find God more valuable than any treasure, any pearl, or anything else. We welcome you, Tyler, to be part of the coming of the Kingdom of God.