Daily Reflection
July 28th, 2004
Thomas A. Kuhlman
English Department
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In today's Gospel Jesus compares heaven to a treasure and to a pearl of great price.

I have seen treasures.  The Sultan's golden throne in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, encrusted with diamonds and rubies.  The Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.  A Faberge egg given by Czar Nicholas to Alexandra.  The Hope Diamond in the Smithsonian.  A first edition of Moby Dick in the Morgan Library.

Christians and other religious people and even secular humanists agree that the possession of such treasures will not guarantee happiness, and may even destroy happiness.  This month I've regularly been seeing even greater treasures -- around and in swimming pools, municipal pools, and at clubs and backyards and at Creighton.  The treasures are the children enjoying the cool water -- toddlers, grade- and junior high schoolers.  I've watched their parents and grandparents, they and I both delighting in the health and vitality of the next generations.  I've even been touched by the smile of a three-year-old who was not healthy, a boy who spent his first 13 months in a hospital 60 miles from his parents' rural home, a child who had a tracheotomy shortly after birth and who still must be fed through a tube in his tummy.   This boy sings scales, builds with blocks, runs about and hugs his mom and dad and the trunks of trees.  He is a treasure greater than the Sultan's throne.

Jesus said that the merchant would sell all that he had to buy the pearl of great price.  Our children are our foretaste of heaven, and the parents I know will give everything they can for the welfare of their offspring.

Besides today's Gospel, we have a reading from Jeremiah.  With all the world's bad news, I don't much like listening to that cranky old prophet, with his cries of woe and strife and contention.  A little of that goes a long way.  But after thinking about these readings, which also include allusions to enemies and distress, I realized that they do fit together.  Jeremiah's call to repentance reminds us to turn from those desires and actions that keep us from heaven, turning away too from what will hurt our innocent children.  We must turn instead towards what will bring them healthy growth and fulfillment.  Jeremiah and the Psalmist promise us mercy if we work for a just and praise-filled environment, a world pleasing to children, to God, a world that is our first step towards heaven.

Did you make your installment payment on heaven today?  Did I?


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