Homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is a story from the work entitled In This Very Life that tells of a skilled basket weaver.  He was a simple man who enjoyed weaving his baskets.  He whistled and sang and passed the day happily as he worked making his beautiful baskets.  He would welcome customers warmly and readily express his gratitude for their patronage.  At night he would retire to his little hut and sleep well.


One day a wealthy man passed his little shop and was taken with one of his beautiful baskets. Impressed by the weaver's handiwork and moved by his humble poverty, the rich man gave the poor weaver a thousand dollars.


The stunned basket weaver took the money with much appreciation. He had never seen one thousand dollars in his life.  He took the money back to his ramshackle hut and wondered where he could keep it.  But there was no safe place.  He did not sleep at all that night, worrying about robbers and even rats nibbling at his cash.


The next day he took the thousand dollars to his little shop, but he did not sing or whistle, he was so worried about the money.  So worried, in fact, that he had trouble concentrating on his weaving. Again that night he did not sleep.


The following morning he went to the home of the wealthy man who had given him the thousand dollars. Handing the money back to the puzzled man, the poor weaver begged, "Please, sir, give me back my happiness."


Sometimes we become so obsessed with the things of the world that we fail to embrace the treasures of life itself.  The simple but wise basket weaver refused to trade his life's happiness and sense of meaning for the kind of money the foolish use to measure happiness and success.


Jesus calls us to seek the "treasures" and the "pearls" of lasting value that are the things of God: the love of family and friends, the support given and received in being part of a family and community, the sense of joy and fulfillment found in serving and giving for the sake of others.  To seek anything else is to settle for so much less than God has given.+

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