August 1, 2018
I delivered the following homily on Matthew 13:44-46 in 2017 at St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis:
Today’s gospel has left me confused. Confused because it contradicts investment advice I have heard many times over the years. That advice: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
It seems like prudent advice. I should not invest all I have in one thing. If that one thing does not pan out, I lose it all.
Today’s gospel says just the opposite. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Sounds like Jesus is telling us to put all our eggs in one basket.
Investment consultants would certainly argue against taking a risk such as this. They would caution us against leaving ourselves so vulnerable.
Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is for those who allow themselves to be vulnerable, those who go all in. Full investment in God. All our eggs in His basket.
Two situations occurred while we were on vacation last year that illustrate the difference between being all in and holding back.
While at poolside, a man entered the area using a walker. Setting the walker aside, he took hold of the handrail and slowly, and painfully, began to lower himself into the pool.
I asked if he needed help and offered to assist him. He politely refused my help.
I was done at that point. I had been nice and offered to assist my fellow man.
Carol went into action. She began by facing him, making eye contact with him, and commenting on how well he was doing. She asked him if the pool was part of his therapy and inquired about his physical condition.
She and John, her new friend, then had a 30-40 minute conversation. John had a stroke very recently. Workouts in the pool helped him strengthen his weakened left side. He was worried about the future and the impact the stroke would have on his job as a teacher with school starting again soon. Carol listened and asked questions. She was engaging, empathetic, and consoling.
I hedged my bet by not totally investing in this man. If he had accepted my offer of help, I would have helped him into the pool and been done. Since he refused my help, at least I had offered, so I was done.
Carol put all her eggs in John’s basket, leaving herself completely vulnerable. He could have taken offense at Carol’s questions, or considered her intrusive. But he didn’t. The time spent in conversation with Carol was more therapeutic for him than the water of the pool.
I offered to perform a task for a stranger. Carol offered friendship to John. She was all in.
Two days later, again under an umbrella at poolside, I sat reading a book while Carol was doing some jewelry making.
A teenage girl was in the pool and at one point came and sat on the edge of the pool near us. She glanced our way a few times. She looked sad, a little lost.
If she had said, “I’m sad, will you comfort me?” I would have gone to her and offered words of support. If she had started crying, I would have gone to her, put an arm around her, and consoled her. But she didn’t do either of those things, so I didn’t do either of those things. I just read my book and wondered why the girl was sad.
Carol saw the girl glancing our way, too. She said, “I’m making some jewelry. Do you want to come over and watch?” The girl, Amy, came over. Carol spent the next hour with her, talking with her and giving her a jewelry-making lesson. They never talked about why Amy was sad, but for that hour, she wasn’t.
Carol put all her eggs in Amy’s basket, and in so doing, left herself vulnerable. Amy could have given her the teenage girl eye roll, or commented that jewelry making was lame. But she didn’t.
We found out later from the girl’s mom that Amy’s best friend had been killed by a drunk driver several weeks ago. The mom thanked Carol for her time. She said while watching Amy make jewelry by the side of the pool, she saw her smile for the first time in a long time.
I was ready to help a young girl if she asked for help. Carol stepped in because Amy might need help, because Carol was all in.
I want to be just like Carol when I grow up.