Today, Wednesday the 15th week of Ordinary Time, the first reading in the Divine Office was about the seizure of Naboth's vineyard by Ahab the king of Samaria. Ahab was willing to give Naboth a fair price for the vineyard and even exchange it for another vineyard to his liking. I am sure he would even have made the deal extremely attractive. Naboth however, was not interested. " I will not give you my ancestral heritage." was Naboth's answer. Ahab was so upset that he took to bed and would not eat. His wife Jezebel arranged to have Naboth killed and solved the problem without much trouble. (I Kings 21)
There is a similar problem in the Seoul Archdiocese with the Kajwa Dong parish: they are asked to give up the Church for redevelopment of the area for a New Town. The Redevelopment Co-op is willing to give the money necessary for relocating and building, but the community is not interested. A struggle between the Church and the Co-op is well advanced. The feeling of the Church is that they are not a commodity that is bought and sold. There is much more involved here than money.
The society that we are living in today is one that sees all problems easily solved with money. I suppose that Ahab and his wife had the same feeling with the vineyard. It was close to the King's house and he wanted the vineyard to make a vegetable garden, a very praiseworthy desire, but Naboth had a great deal of sentimental feeling about that vineyard. It was his history and money, no matter how much, would entice him to give it up.
The Parish Community has begun to collect signatures; they have 16 thousands at present and will approach the other parishes in the deanery for the 50 thousands necessary t0 bring it before the court of law.
There are many things in life that do not have a price and we tend to forget this in our world of commerce.