Posts Tagged ‘abundance’

Abundance in Need

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Is 25: 6-10a; Mt 15: 29-37

Deacon Larry Brockman

Well, it’s that time of year again, the “Holiday Season”.  Yes, our secular society has morphed our wonderful Christmas celebration into a “Holiday Season”.  And our holidays are characterized with an abundance- an abundance of good cheer, food, parties, cookies and presents.  It’s as if an abundance of pleasure is what the spirit of Christmas is all about.   

Well, believe it or not, today’s readings are all about the abundance of God’s blessings.  And that’s something we should all want- an abundance of God’s blessings.  However, our Christian concept of abundance is better matched to the real meaning of Christmas than the abundance we hear about in secular society.   

In today’s Gospel, we first hear about the working of many miracles- many of the lame, the deformed, the blind, and the mute are healed.  And then, Jesus feeds 4000 people with a few loaves and fish.  By the way, this is not the feeding of the 5000.  That incident came earlier in the Gospel.  No, this is actually a second incident of mass feeding of a crowd.  Clearly, Jesus abundantly heals, and Jesus abundantly provides food for the hungry- so much so that there were seven baskets left over; and that’s seven baskets more than they began with!  That is real abundance.   

These gifts of healing and daily bread are signs of God’s intention to bless his people with abundance.  We have only to ask sincerely, as Jesus did, and God will provide for our needs.  Because, you see, God is the ultimate Santa Claus!  God always gives to others without expecting anything in return.   

Now notice that Jesus’ actions in today’s Gospel are characterized by one common factor-  Genuine Need.  The lame and deformed and blind and sick had a genuine need; and the crowd which hadn’t eaten for three days had a genuine need as well.  It is God’s will that His people be healthy and that their basic needs be met with abundance.  God will answer our prayers for such needs- and with abundance.   

But that is not the same thing as wanting something even if we ask for it in prayer.  Because there is often a difference between something we want and something we need.  In fact, God frequently gives us what we need rather than what we want when we pray.  That can be a real problem for us- because we think we know what we need and so, that is what we ask for.  But God loves us so much that he will respond to us with abundance for what we really need.  God is the best judge of that.   

I propose we all try something a little different this year for Christmas.  Let us compose our Christmas lists a little differently.  Let us ask God for what we really need, rather than what we want.   

Perhaps a little quiet time to reflect on how you can change your life for the better next year.  Or to help develop a skill that helps others.    Perhaps you can anticipate a real need by one of your loved ones, and that can be your gift to them.  Maybe some quality time together with a neglected family member.  Or Giving up time with the game controller and interacting with your siblings instead.   

Our first reading talks about God’s ultimate gift to all of us- everlasting life in paradise.  Then, we will be provided with a rich, never ending feast that meets all of our needs and wants.  But we’re not there yet.    While we live this life, our goal should be to love others as Jesus did.  God gave the world his only son, Jesus, at Christmas.  Jesus gave abundantly of his talent and fed thousands in the miracles.  His focus was on giving abundantly to meet real needs.  His focus was on fulfilling God’s plan.  And he achieved salvation for us all by doing so.  That is ultimate happiness and self-fulfillment.   

Maybe we should try the same thing- giving of ourselves.  It might make us happier than all the wants we can think of!