How’s your financial health these days? What with rising gas, heating oil, and food prices; the sub-prime mortgage mess with banks failures as a result; Freddie and Fannie May being in trouble hoping for relief from the government; all this makes the $600 or $1200 stimulus check seem as only a drop in the bucket.
As the stock market has been tumbling over the last several months, various financial gurus have rather consistently given two pieces of advice.
The first is diversify. They counsel that to stand a chance in today’s market one has to make sure that investments are made in different types of companies and also in something other than the market itself. Obviously Jesus through the person and the merchant of today’s parables is not of this economic school. For Jesus discipleship demands a total commitment and dedication. No hedging of the investment of self is allowed.
The second piece of advice from the marketplace is: stay in for the long term. The contention is that the market is going to have its ups and downs but one has to take a long range view, say 5 to 10 years. Traditionally the market over those periods will outperform other types of investments. It would seem that Jesus would agree with this kind of advice.
This is the 2nd consecutive week we’ve been given images of a final sorting out, whether it be the weeds and wheat of last week or the haul of fish this one. Jesus counsels patience in terms of the coming of the kingdom and not to be upset that perfection in the world, the community of believers, or oneself has not yet been achieved. Like Solomon, we too need an understanding heart, not so much to distinguish right from wrong or to make judgments but to refrain from making snap judgments about others. A lake covered with scum may indeed have clear springs that feed it while one that is free of apparent slime may be very murky at its depths.
The advice of financiers to diversify and to stay in for the long-term can lead to financial health. The advice of Jesus to commit and to be patient leads to spiritual health.
Do we understand these things?
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time