Sunday, November 24, 2013
Test Your Servants
Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief chamberlain had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days. Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men who eat from the royal table, and treat your servants according to what you see.” Daniel 1:11-13
He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” Luke 21:3-4
Father, help us to imitate the examples of your servants Daniel and the poor widow. Entering the last week in the Liturgical Year, may we keep our focus on the examples you provide rather than those offered up by Madison Avenue, Wall Street or Hollywood.
As we stand on the threshold of the season of advertising and consumption, we have two models of alternative behavior. Black Friday has almost taken on more prominence than Thanksgiving Day or the First Sunday of Advent. The sales have already begun. The stores open on Thursday (not even waiting for the clock to strike midnight). As a society, we do not want to miss a single sale…a single chance to get a deal on something for ourselves or our family and friends. The present moment presents us with presents given and gotten.
Before we get too far into this week, think about how different the holiday would be if the image at the head of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was Daniel, not Snoopy or Santa. Daniel, known for giving up the king's fine food for vegetables. Or maybe the parade grand marshall should be the poor widow giving her last cent under the watchful eye of Jesus. The poor widow giving up her last coin rather than spending it on herself could be dancing up a storm in Herald Square instead of the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes shilling for more ticket sales for the Christmas pageant.
What test does this week offer to us? How can we emulate the poor widow? How do we accept the challenge to “put in more?” The holiday advertisers are already tempting us with Doorbuster Sales…Pre-Black Friday Specials…Cyber Monday Now…and a Special Helping of Football.
What we give and how we give it are important considerations. Check out this story from The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-giving/seven-worst-ways-to-give-to-charity-during-the-holidays/2013/11/24/9cfa2e3a-53b3-11e3-9e2c-e1d01116fd98_story.html?tid=auto_complete).
With all the recent natural disasters (Philippine typhoon, tornadoes in Illinois and more), here is another story to target your research before you open your wallet for disaster relief (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/use-caution-in-disaster-relief/2013/11/12/0f0f1d1e-4bda-11e3-9890-a1e0997fb0c0_story.html).