Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 20, 2019

I am sometimes reminded, and still amazed at how Mom could go shopping on Saturday morning, grocery list in hand, and come away with everything she needed to feed a family of ten for a whole week.  I’m not so sure it was menu-planning as much as keeping the cupboards stocked. Mom and Grandma both had the gift of creativity in the kitchen, of go-to-the-cupboard-see-what-ya-got-and-make-something-out-of-it kind of creativity.  It’s how I cook, too. I can’t say it’s always gourmet, but it’s generally edible. Whether you’re feeding a family of ten or a family of one, I’m sure most of you put meals together like that, at least once in a while. Right? It’s just a matter of putting together the right ingredients in a way that creates something good.  

It might also offer a good approach the hungers of life. I am convinced that we have every opportunity, solutions and resources and the time we need to solve the problems of the world - but so often we just don’t put it together.  Greed takes over so that what was once plentiful is now scarce; science and technology override the natural rhythm of humanity; politics and corruption get mixed up in the same bowl. We get tired and cynical and frustrated and throw our creativity out the window…and the world continues to hunger for life, for health, for peace, for justice.      

Think of it this way: God has given us everything we need provide shelter for the homelessness and clothe the naked, yet while some remain without a place to lay their heads, others build storage facilities and bigger closets.  God has given us plenty of food and water so that no one would have to go to bed hungry or live with thirst, but how much food is thrown out every day and hoe many glasses of water are poured down the drain? God has given us the grace to forgive and the path of redemption, but too often it remains unused in the freezers of our cold hearts.  God has given us everything we need to live in hope but so often we let is all it sit on the shelf of apathy.

In the faith story of the Israelites, God constantly reminded them that they were his, they belonged to him.  That alone would be enough to offer them blessings and dignity and protection. But time and time again they turned to worldly riches and sought recognition of others; they built bigger walls and bigger armies for protection.  And time and time again it all fell apart, and God would have to remind them that they were already his beloved, his delight, and that he was determined to let everyone know that.

Paul saw it in the people of Corinth.  Mighty deeds, great wisdom, awesome knowledge, prophetic eyes, generous hands, gifted speech and understanding hearts: it’s all there.  So generous is God! The Holy Spirit had placed in their community, as in ours, every resource to build the Kingdom that God intends. None of them could do it alone, but when they shared those gifts with one another all the needed was already theirs.   

The same story was told in the setting of a family wedding in Cana.  It was a crisis moment; the wine was gone, bringing embarrassment and shame upon the family.  But Jesus has the power to turn any crisis into a moment of blessing. Those few jugs of water, destined for washing dirty feet, became the choicest of wines. Only Jesus can turn a moment of crisis into a moment of celebration.  

Those simple things: To believe that we are beloved and that God is always with us, to believe that every gift we need is already ours, to welcome the presence of Jesus in our lives  - so when Old Mother Hubbard goes to the cupboard…she’ll find everything she needed was already there.

 

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