On reflecting and pondering on today’s Gospel, many thoughts came to mind.
So often in the Gospel Parables, Jesus asks us to love God before rules, wealth, others respect etc. Jesus teaches us also to give our all to him e.g. Widows mite, rich young fool, etc, etc.
St Benedict, in his rule in Chapter 72 finishes with the words “ to prefer nothing to the love of Christ.”
St Paul of the Cross asks of his followers to put prayer before all else in one’s daily life.
A story I read recently, whose author is unknown, I would like to share. This story illustrates to me how a child preferred finding God against all else. A beautiful story of faith, love and care.
One day, a little 6-year-old boy held a $1.00 note in his hand. He went to the local shopkeepers asking, ‘Excuse me, do you sell God?”
Many shop owners thought the boy was joking. They told him to leave. But the boy did not give up. He went in and out of countless shops for several days, asking to buy God.
The stubborn little boy walked into the 59th shop and asked the shopkeeper “Excuse me, do you sell God here?”
The owner was a 60-year-old grandpa with silver hair and kind eyes and smiled and asked the little boy, “tell me, why do you want to buy God?”
The little boy shed tears as he told the shopkeeper that his parents had died when he was a toddler. His uncle was raising him now. The uncle fell off a construction scaffolding and is now lying unconscious at the hospital. The doctor told the boy that only God can save his uncle. The little boy thought that God must be a wonderful person. He said innocently. “If I pay God, maybe he can heal him.”
After listening to the boy’s narrative, the shopkeeper asked, “How much do you have?” One dollar is all I have. It is everything I own,” replied the child.
“Child, this is your lucky day. God’s price is one dollar” The shop owner took the dollar and he gave the boy a bottle of “Gods Kiss“ from the shelf. He said, “Take it, boy. When your uncle drinks this bottle of Gods Kiss, he will get well soon.”
The little boy was overjoyed. Holding the drink tightly in his arms, he ran quickly to his uncle’s hospital room. He shouted happily to his uncle. “I brought God back, and you will get well soon.”
The next day, a team of medical experts took a special plane to the small city and went straight to the hospital where the boy’s uncle was. They performed a delicate operation that restored the uncle to health. The uncle made a full recovery.
When the boy’s uncle was discharged from the hospital, he almost passed out when he saw the medical bill. However, the hospital said an elderly rich man had already paid the bill. That man was the shop owner who gave the little boy God for a dollar.
The boy and his uncle went to the shop looking for the owner to thank him. When they got to the shop, an employee told them that the man they thought was the store owner was really his boss and that he owned hundreds of stores. He was a billionaire who brought in the doctors that saved the uncle’s life.
The employee handed the uncle a letter from his boss, who was on his way to Europe. He tore open the letter and read,” Young man, you don’t need to thank me. All the expenses have been paid by the love of your nephew. He brought a dollar and went into every shop to buy ‘God’ for you. He gave everything he had to save you. You are blessed.”
Jesus says, “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
Taking up the cross does not mean God wants you to have a life of suffering and pain. It means God wants you to give all your life to Him as he gave all his life to save you on the cross. How do I give my life to God to be worthy of Him? One of the best ways is to “Pay it forward”. Pay it forward in the way of life where you reward a person’s kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else. You thank God for his love for you by paying it forward in love to someone else.
Like the little boy, ‘buy’ God with your faith. Then ‘sell’ God to others by your good deeds.
Elizabeth Buchel has worked as an educator and psychologist for many years. She is formed in Passionist and Benedictine Spirituality. Elizabeth is a Passionist Companion and has been a active parishioner of St Brigids Marrickville since 1985.