It took me a long time to enter the store. I thought it was intended for those with meager means. I thought to myself, “Do I dress down before entering?” I used Kohl’s or Boston Store (closed) or Walmart or the Nordstrom choice only to show off the labels.
For some reason, I walked into one and was blown away. The “Dollar Tree.” No specials. No markdowns. No, nothing. Only asking for one of our dollars for this billion-dollar company. I wanted to yell, “Price check, aisle three?” No one would answer because they’d think I was a kook.
I was a kook to have avoided that store. Dollar Tree. One dollar. After losing a tooth in my youth, my parents would place a quarter under my pillow. I knew they’d do it because in the morning I’d find it and smile to myself. $.25. I’m sure it’s been increased to that one dollar now. “Thanks, Dad, but can you break this one dollar for me please?”
The human economy and the economy of God. Both exchanges but for different purposes. “You give me something and I’ll give you something more,” says our human version of exchange. Divine exchange says, “You give me you and I’ll give you one dollar.”
“You give me your life,” says the Divine, and “I’ll show you what my Son did for you. “Purchased for a price,” is our salvation. “Paid in full,” says the crucified Christ. “Thirty pieces” of it brought each of us just one dollar. “A ransom for many,” as though a ransom needed to be paid like in the movies.
Jesus could have said, “I’ll give you my arm if you promise me your wounded leg.” Or, “I’ll give you my peace if you change your questionable behaviors.”
Nope. Please notice those two stupid prayer words, “if you.” It may work in human economy but absolutely never in the Divine economy. “If you” is a bargaining position. Dollar Tree doesn’t bargain or negotiate. From the first item you see to the last, the cost to you is one dollar plus some state tax (in addition to that baseball stadium which appears to need the money!).
Cost of living increase? Adjusted for inflation? Tax-deductible? Deferred? How many other human economy terms when all the time I’m standing in aisle three of Dollar Tree asking for a price check that costs me only one dollar – my entire life.
From the Queen of Apostles’ Pastoral Team to the teams of your family and friends, a blessed Christmas along with heaps of renewed hope in 2020.
Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.