Posted on Sep 10, 2019

8 September 2019

There was once a wise old philosopher who each day would go out to the gates of the city.

There he would catch up on the comings and goings, and greet any newcomers.

One day the old man saw a stranger, who looked harried and in need of help.

The old man went up to the stranger and asked if he could be of help.

The stranger explained that he was new to the area, he and his family had just been forced to leave their hometown as it was a bad place to live.

“The people there have become mean and cold, and very selfish.

The city walls have fallen into disrepair because no one could agree on how to fix them, or would pay anything to fix them.”

“Tell me,” he said, “what are the people like here?”

“Oh,” said the wise old philosopher, “they are much the same,

always quarreling and fighting, ungenerous and mean.

If you are looking for a new place to live you had better keep going.”

“Then we shall stay on the road said the stranger.”

The next day the wise old philosopher again went to the city gates.

Again some strangers appeared at the gates, a man and his family.

They appeared very sad.

The old philosopher went up to them and asked them if he could be of any help.

“Yes,” said the stranger. “We are looking for a place to live.

Through an unhappy set of circumstances we have been forced

to leave our city and home.”

“It was such a good place to live, we had so many friends there,

and so many kind and generous people lived there, we did not want to leave.

“Tell us, what kind of people live here?”

“Oh,” said the wise old philosopher, “these are wonderful people here,

honest and generous who know the value of friendship and doing for others.

You would do well to make your home with us.

Come in to our city.”

Now, another old gentlemen also sat at the city gates all day.

He had watched the comings and goings and heard the conversations

of the wise old man with the two groups of strangers.

He asked the old philosopher why to one group he said the city was filled with ingrates, unsuitable people, and to the other family, he had said that the city

was filled with good and generous people.

The old philosopher replied: “People find and become what they are looking for.

It is far better for all of us if we welcome into our city people who are

looking for kindness and ways to be generous, than the mean-spirited and ungenerous.”

I tell that story because in the gospel today we hear that being a disciple is costly.

But the cost depends on what each of us is looking for.

What do you look for when you come here?

Do you look for kindness, generosity, forgiveness?

And if that is what you look for, are you willing to give it?  That is the cost.