OZ: The Parable Christ Might Have Written.

(For the audio version of this blog, please visit: http://brothersinchristcmf.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Mass-Blog-for-the-17th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-2023.mp3)

The characters in the Wizard of OZ represent human characteristics as ancient as the Old Testament. In Sunday’s first reading (1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12), King Solomon seems like the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion all rolled into one. He’s searching for the virtues a good leader needs—wisdom, heart and courage (virtually the same ones for which that group went off to see the Wizard).

“Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart,” he prays to God, “to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”

Those characters in the kingdom of Oz eventually discover they already had easy access to the virtues they’d wanted. They just needed each other’s help to look within themselves and find the Holy Spirit of God. Embarking on any important mission often requires the cooperation of others on the same internal quest.

In Sunday’s second reading (Rom 8:28-30), Paul tells us Jesus was the model of that Godly cooperation, and in that model we find our destiny.

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.

The Son of God taught in parables that often involved journeys revealing the old and new truths we seek. He personified those truths, and the Spirit he sent inhabits humanity like a network by which we help each other navigate this life. When the workers he hired to install that network assured him they understood their mission, he replied,

“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” (Mt 13:44-52)

Humanity sits on a vast storeroom of truths of which we are often either unaware or too afraid to find. That’s why we need each other—to find the wisdom and/or the courage to discover and make best use of those riches.

–Tom Andel

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