Seventeenth Sunday of the Year
24th July 2011
My dear friends,
“We know that by turning everything to their good God cooperates with all those who love him,” – the opening lines of the second reading.
There was once a tailor who lived inKrakow. He was a pious man. One night he had a dream in which a voice said to him, “If you go toPragueand dig beneath a certain tree behind the emperor’s castle, you will find a great treasure. The poor man placed great trust in dreams, so he set out the very next day forPrague.
However, when he got there he found that the castle was guarded. Unable to get across the bridge, he pitched tent under it for the moment. While there he became friends with the captain of the guard. One day he shared his story with him. When he had listened to the tailor’s story the captain said “You’re a foolish man. I have dreams myself and lately I had a dream that over inKrakowthere lived a poor tailor. I dreamt that if I went to his house and dug behind his stove I would find a treasure. I dismissed it as foolishness of course!”
The tailor thanked him and went back home. As soon as he arrived, he dug behind his own hearth and lo and behold found the treasure. “We will never be happy,” he declared “unless we find the treasure that God has hidden in our own field. That is where we discover ourselves and our true worth.”
We rarely go through life without some painful things happening to us. Some of these, such as alcohol addiction, we bring on ourselves. Others (such as betrayal) we suffer at the hands of others. And then there are accidents which often happen through nobody’s fault. These experiences can bring us down river to the point of hopelessness and self-pity. We begin to doubt life, to doubt ourselves and to doubt God. Paul has a message for us – God has a saving plan. He can turn everything to the benefit of those who trust in him. He can bring good out of our pain, even out of our sins.
There was a king who owned a valuable diamond. One day an accident happened and the diamond got deeply scratched. The king consulted experts to see if anything could be done to save the diamond. But they told him that even if they polished it they would never be able to repair the damage. So the king locked the diamond in his vault. Years later a very famous diamond cutter arrived in the capital. At the king’s invitation, he undertook to examine the diamond to see if anything could be done.
After a careful examination he declared, “Your majesty, I will make the diamond look even more beautiful than it was before the accident.” He engraved a beautiful rose on the diamond, using the deep scratch as the stem of the rose. It wasn’t just a clever cover up. He took the diamond’s fault and transformed it into something beautiful.
In our pride or folly or in a sense of hurt we can throw away what can bring us to God and help us to grow. God can help us transform our worst fault into a virtue, our worst misfortunes into a blessing. From painful experiences and difficult times we learn that God is faithful to us and can bring good out of anything. If we trust him and have patience, God can make all things work together for the good of those who love him. If difficult times return, we will remember what we have learned, and we will not lose heart. God knows us better then anyone else. He sees our wounds and sorrows, the scars we carry in our hearts. A close relationship with God is a real treasure. It gives us a sense of who we are and where we are going. If we find God, we find everything!
+Liam S. MacDaid