Lingering ever-so-pleasantly in our kitchen this morning: the enticing aroma of homemade Monster Cookies…
Naturally, the tempting treats are strictly off-limits to Yours Truly. They’ve been baked with tender-loving-care as favors for the guests at a niece’s Baby Shower scheduled to take place this weekend. Perhaps a cookie or two will be available for my consumption post-party, I’ve been told. But for now, a longing look will have to do.
And as I wait, I am moved to meditate on “yearning” as a Gospel value. It’s all over the passage we hear from Matthew on Sunday. In it, Jesus teaches us:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”
What sorts of treasures would rise to that level of desire in my heart, I wonder? I doubt a Monster Cookie would make the cut. But there ARE things I crave with a passion today…things I tended to take for granted in a pre-COVID era.
Simple things, like Baby Showers that didn’t have to be conducted in a “socially distant” way. Or Major League Baseball games with actual fans in the stands. Or liturgies during which it is permitted to sing. Or Kairos Prison Ministry weekends, where bottomless bowls of homemade cookies offered my incarcerated brothers a sweet, symbolic taste of Jesus’ mercy and forgiveness.
But there’s a thin line, I notice, between “yearning” and “whining” when I spend any time reflecting on these (and other) “pre-COVID” desires of my heart. My yearning can quickly collapse into something less than a Gospel value.
What’s the redress for this disorder of the spirit? A heaping spoonful of gratitude certainly helps. As does hope – hope built on a life centered in Christ, as St. Paul reminds us this week:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God…
A Christ-centered hope doesn’t tend to get stuck in nostalgic longing. Rather, when we live in hope, we grow more comfortable with change. We are given the grace to see new possibilities emerging. And Jesus helps us to recognize that all of this is perhaps part of the plan for the kingdom, because:
“…the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.