Price or value? It matters with Jesus
We have seen before on the news how a huge company might offer a lot of money to buy another company. It might be for a couple hundred million, or something that goes into the billions of dollars.
Ever wonder who or even how the company came up with that price tag? I picture a lonely accountant punching numbers into an adding machine, then pulling the lever, again and again.
Hmmm … let’s see, that’s seven factories at a 150,000 each, pull the lever; a fleet of trucks at 25,000, pull the lever; don’t forget all those paper clips, pull the lever; hit total. Maybe a really good accountant could come up with the cost. But its value could be much different than its cost.
Value and price are two different things. The calculation of value factors in all the intangibles, the non-monetary things such as the product’s appeal, or pride of the workers, among other things.
In our Gospel for this weekend, Jesus invites the crowds (and us) to examine the personal cost of being his disciple.
He pronounces that disciples might be called to hate members of their family. They would have to carry their own cross, and renounce all of their possessions to be his disciple.
Jesus’ parables as examples don’t add up: the builder checking to have all the materials before building his tower, the king counting his soldiers before going to battle. Those who listen closely to Jesus know that the tower of Babel fell before its completion. They know the last kings of Israel lost the battles, they were now an occupied country.
It seems Jesus is putting a huge price tag on discipleship. But cost is different than value. The weekend’s opening prayer hints at the value: "[through Christ] … we are redeemed and receive adoption … those who believe Christ receive true freedom and an everlasting inheritance."
Now that’s priceless.
Father William L’Heureux is pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Silver Creek, St. Rose of Lima Parish in Genoa and Ss. Peter and Paul Parish of Krakow.