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If You Could Have Just One Thing
One evening, young King Solomon fell asleep, and he has a terrific dream. God came to him and asked him. “What do you want me to do for you?” Solomon answered, “Give me all the skills and knowledge I need so I can fulfill my mission in life by leading the twelve tribes of Israel.” That was a perfect answer. Jesus told a parable of a man who sold everything he had to buy one pearl. What is our one pearl? Let’s say God appears to us tonight in a dream and asks us what we want. How would you answer that question? What is your one pearl?
My friend invited me to dinner. When I got out of the car he came over and asked me, “How is it going?” I should have just said, “Fine.” But no, I had to tell him all my problems. Why is it that every day something breaks? Why is it that the boiler ceases to work on Sunday mornings when everyone comes to church? Why is it that every time it rains hard I get to clean up a flood? He interrupted my rant by informing me that he was the proud owner of a Zen garden. He told me to check it out.
While we were eating he asked me, “Did you see my Zen garden?” I said, “I am not sure I saw a sand pit with a rock in the middle and concentric circles around it in the sand made from a rack. “That is my Zen Garden.” He said, “Let me explain so that you understand this. I have a regular garden with flowers and vegetables. When I go in my regular garden I see weeds and I have to pull them up. Then I go back to my regular garden and I see tiny insects eating the vegetation, so I have to spray the plants. Then I return to the same garden and I notice that the animals are eating my vegetables so then I have to build a fence. Every time I go in my regular garden I am a man at war. I love my Zen garden because when I go there, I am a man of peace. Now it makes sense to me why the man sold everything he had to buy the one pearl.
Not long after that I got my own office. On the wall, I put a picture of the Madonna and Child. Whenever I have an appointment or meet with a couple, they would notice the picture and comment, “Oh, what a nice picture.” The reason why they notice the picture so consistently is because it is the only thing in the office except a desk and some chairs.
One of the priests I lived with walked into my office and said, “Your office is bland; you need more stuff in your room.” I ask, “What kind of stuff?” “You know! Put a throw carpet on the floor, maybe a few plants, put up some curtains around the window, Put a bookshelf in here with some books. Put some things on your desk.” I responded, “Then my office would look like yours and I would have a bad case of stimuli overload. I love my office because there is only one thing. And people notice my one thing. It gives me peace.”
Sometimes our lives are complicated by stimuli overload. There is a better way. If God came to you tonight and asked you what is the one thing He could give you. What would you tell Him?Back to All Homilies