Tuesday, December 02, 2014

God's Abundance

By Colleen O’Sullivan
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.  On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever.  The Lord God with wipe away the tears from all faces; The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken.  (Isaiah 25:6-8)

At that time:  Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there.  Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others.  They placed them at his feet and he cured them…  He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.  Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.  They all ate and were satisfied.  They picked up the fragments left over – seven baskets full.  (Matthew 15: 29-30, 35-37)

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.
(Psalm 23:6)

The prophet Isaiah paints a beautiful picture of our future with God – an unending table of plenty, no more dying, no more tears.  There is no end to what God wants to bestow upon us out of love and generosity.  This is the salvation God’s holds out to you and me – life without sorrow, anger, or fear; no more poverty or hunger; life without end with our Lord.  The abundance of God offered to every one of God’s children.

All the promise we see on the canvas Isaiah unfurls becomes reality in Jesus.  In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus transforms the lives of the people brought into his presence.  Where there is brokenness, he brings healing and wholeness.  Jesus has compassion on this crowd that has gone without food for days just to be with him.  He takes the few items of food still left among the people, gives thanks over them and, amazingly, there is more than enough to go around.  The abundance of God broken and shared that we might have life.

Where do we find ourselves this Advent?  Somewhere between the breaking in of God’s Kingdom and its fulfillment.  Having had a foretaste of God’s abundance and longing for the heavenly banquet mentioned in both our first reading and our psalm for today, Psalm 23.

While we’re waiting and longing for the Lord, why not make a list?  No, not the type you’d send to Santa Claus.  The gratitude kind.  Take a few minutes to list all the ways in which you’ve been the recipient of God’s abundant love.  Once you get started, I think you’ll find you can write for hours.

Once you’ve got it down in black and white, I think you’ll be amazed at how blessed and how rich you will feel.  Don’t keep all that abundant love to yourself.  Be like the saint we remember today.  St. Francis Xavier was one of the seven original Jesuits.  He had the Word of God in his heart.  He had something to share and so, when asked, he left his friends (he and his close friend and mentor, St. Ignatius of Loyola, never saw each other again) and traveled to India and points beyond to preach and teach the Word to others. 

Take something on your gratitude list and come up with a concrete way to share that blessing with a brother or sister in need.  If you’re short on ideas, try picking a person or family off the Christmas wish tree that virtually every parish has and make that wish come true.  You’re rich; you can afford it!

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