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What Have We Got?

He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs
Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85:9-14; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13

Sermon Week Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 6:7

Comedian, film, and television star Groucho Marx, famous for his quick wit, once said, "I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal."

A California realtor once persuaded the famed comedian to inspect a palatial ocean-front estate that was for sale. The realtor drove Groucho up the mile-long, beautifully landscaped approach. He escorted him through the house, the stables, the gardens, the kennels, demonstrating the many beautiful features of the dream palace by the sea. Groucho patiently plodded after him, nodding sternly from time to time, apparently much impressed. Finally, he was ushered out on the flagstone terrace as the salesman waved proudly toward the broad expanse of the Pacific. "Now, what do you think?" he challenged. "I don't care for it," replied Groucho. "Take away the ocean, and now what have you got?"

The story becomes a parable on the actual value of our Christian discipleship. We may know the Bible from cover to cover. We may be well-informed in theology. We may know all the sacred hymns by heart. We may be regular Churchgoers. We may be generous with our time in Church activities and generous with our weekly offerings. We may be able to speak in tongues. But take away love, and what have we got? In the Apostle Paul's words, "if we do not have love, we are nothing." To be effective members of this Christian Community – to be effective disciples of Jesus Christ, effective witnesses to the reality of the Divine Presence in the world, we must do everything in the Spirit of Love.

Speaking of reality, there's a simplistic little test circulating the internet that promises to tell you if you are a realist or an idealist. The test prompts you to pair a word with a color. For example, you are asked to match the word FEAR, or PEACE, or EARTH from a grid of various colors. And at the end of the quiz, you receive your score — identifying you as either a Realist or Idealist. I took the test, which seemed [...]


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