jtemplate.ru - free extensions for joomla

February 10, 2018 - If Only...

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, Virgin

Scripture Readings

Why is the ocean near the shore? That seems like an easy question, but that little puzzle comes from the Wizard of Oz. Remember the three-part song by the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion about wanting a brain, a heart, and some nerve, respectively. That songs came back to me as a I read today’s gospel and experienced conviction (also, if you get a minute, spend some time understanding the context of what is happening in the first reading because it is interesting history).

Praying with the gospel will likely lead to Jesus challenging each of us specifically as we need it. Mine came when I was least expecting it. I was expecting to be challenged regarding my own capacity for pity and compassion or in my faith that God can do the miraculous (my expectation to be challenged in those areas, just shows that I already know I need improvement). Instead I was struck by the words, “Then, taking the seven loaves, he gave thanks…”

Jesus’ gaze had to pass over seven loaves and a few fish as he surveyed the crowd of “about four thousand people.” The inadequacy of what he was given was so apparent that even the brainless Scarecrow could have done the math. This wasn’t going to be enough food.

Then Jesus gave thanks. He was thankful despite the apparent disparity. This is an area where I do not Think Like Jesus, Talk Like Jesus, and Act Like Jesus, yet.

I look at my time, my budget, my health, my social life, my spiritual life, etc and I see areas where there is disparity. As I look at that reality I don’t sound like Jesus, offering thanks for what has been given, I sound like the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow. In my own way I repeat the words the Scarecrow, “I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had a brain.” My “If only…” might not end in brain, but it is my go to response.

This is not what Jesus wants my first response to be. He certainly wants me to take my budget and make it work, and correct myself when I’m wasting money, but in those times that it looks like we might have more month than money, he challenges me to first be grateful for the money we have. Jesus doesn’t want me to procrastinate my joy and thankfulness behind my current “If only I had [blank].” He knows me too well. He knows that once I get that thing, the next “If only…” will form in my head, and my life of gratitude; of thanksgiving—my Eucharistic life—will never really begin.

May the Lord stir gratitude in our hearts, stifling the first cry of “If only I had…” so that we may approach our needs from a faith that can only be shaped by thankfulness.

- Spencer Hargadon