Hopes and Dreams (2016)
Fr. Martin Fuchs´s sermon on 12th June 2016 in Prague, Czech republic
Four trees were talking about their hopes and dreams. The first tree wanted to be a wooden treasure chest filled with gold and precious stones. The second dreamt to be the material of a famous sculptor. The third wanted to become the largest ship in the world and the fourth longed to become the tallest tree in the forest.
One by one the trees were cut. And it seemed that their dreams would not come true. The first was used as a manger for animals, not a treasure chest. The second was not brought into the studio of a famous sculptor but into a simple workshop of a poor and unknown carpenter. The third was not used for a large ship but for a simple fishing boat. And the fourth was far from being the tallest tree in the forest. He was thrown away by the woodworkers.
All four had hopes and it seemed that their dreams would not be fulfilled. Or could they still count that their hopes would realize one day?
The manger was used as a bed for Our Lord Jesus Christ. The second tree was brought to the workshop of Saint Joseph where Jesus Christ helped his foster father. He was then used by the most famous sculptor the world has ever seen.
The third tree was not used for the largest ship but for Saint Peter’s fishing boat from which Our Lord was preaching.
And the fourth tree was given to a group of Roman soldiers who used it to prepare the altar on which Our Saviour offered Himself to His heavenly Father.
All hopes were fulfilled, in a completely different, but much more perfect way.
The first tree became the manger of Our Saviour. God wanted to show us that he was not a king like kings who lived in the palaces. He was rich but He renounced of all His riches to become a poor and to comfort the poor.
The wood of the first tree can still be admired in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It carried the most precious treasure this world has ever carried.
The wood in the workshop of the carpenter
The second tree was brought into the workshop of Saint Joseph. Yes, the New Testament tells us that Saint Joseph was a carpenter. “Jesus was being considered as a carpenter’s son.“ (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3)
When the Holy bible mentions this kind of job, the word “carpenter“ usually means not only a roof maker but somebody who constructs entire houses, all kind of furniture, and tools.
In 2 Samuel 5:11, we read: “Hiram, the king of Tyre, sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons for walls: and they built a house for David.“
And in 2 Chronicles 24:12: “And the king and Joiada gave it to those who were over the works of the house of the Lord: but they hired with it stonecutters, and artificers of every kind of work to repair the house of the Lord.“
In 1 Esdras 3:7: “And they gave money to hewers of stones and to masons: and meat and drink, and oil to the Sidonians and Tyrians, to bring cedar trees from Libanus to the sea of Joppe, according to the orders which Cyrus king of the Persians had given them“ to rebuilt the Jewish temple.
When the Holy bible talks about carpenters, it describes men with technical skills who worked hard to make all the necessary earnings for life, work, and worship.
And now the Creator of the universe worked in Nazareth and later on He went to heaven to prepare a place for us.
“In my Father's house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: because I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you also may be.“ (John 14:2-4)
Saint Peter’s fisher boat
Now we come to the third tree, although it became only a boat of a simple fisherman, it was the boat that the world will never forget.
After the period of preparation in Nazareth, Our Lord put the hammer aside and went to the village of Capharnaum, on the shores of the Lake Galilee. He called a couple of fishermen to become his disciples.
With the little boat of Saint Peter He went from one place to another to preach and perform miracles.
From this boat Peter was fishing all night without catching anything. In the morning, he was a witness of a great miracle: “Our Lord said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said to him: Master, we have laboured all the night, and have taken nothing: but at thy word I will let down the net.
And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. And they beckoned to their partners that were in another ship that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus's knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. And so were also James and John the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men.“ (Luke 5:4-10)
Once Our Lord slept in this boat. Once he used it as his pulpit. This boat saw Our Saviour coming on the waves to the disciples and also how he commanded the great storm of wind: “Peace, be still.“ (Mark 4:39)
Although Jesus had not followed any lessons to preach, His sermons were the most famous speeches the world had ever heard. He didn’t need to correct one word in His speeches. He was God who could neither lie nor cheat.
Although He never got a degree in psychology, He knew more about the human heart than any psychologist or pastor. Although He had never studied medicine, He healed all the sick they brought to Him. Although He had not received manager courses, He founded an organisation that changed the world. And His message changed millions of people throughout the centuries. Yes, “the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister.“ (Matthew 20:28)
Finally, this fisher boat should also see the risen Saviour. When the disciples sadly returned to their former jobs after Good Friday, He appeared to them at the Sea of Tiberias to comfort them. (John 21:3)
The Cross on Golgotha
The fourth tree had wanted to become the tallest tree and it became it, so it was seen all over the world. Its wood was used for the altar of God’s Son.
When we walk through the forest these days, let us think a little of the legend of the four trees: The manger, the material of the carpenter, the fishing boat and the Cross.
Apparently, all four trees had to bury their hopes, but all their hopes were fulfilled in a completely different but in much more perfect way.
Let us not be discouraged if our life takes a quite different direction than we thought in the beginning.
If we let be guided ourselves by God, also our wishes will be fulfilled in a much more perfect way. Amen.