Eating Leftovers. December 3, 2014

Last weekend, a number of people gave me what they termed were “leftovers” from their Thanksgiving tables. All the turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, pecan and pumpkin pie were delicious. “Leftovers” has a bit of a negative connotation, hinting that they are eaten just to avoid being wasteful. I love these “leftovers” as much, if not more, than when the food is eaten right after cooked or baked. The flavor is usually more intense and I am not filled up with all the eating that goes on before sitting down for the main event.

In addition , I am eating food that was put on a table that brought together many family and friends. Through these “leftovers” I was a part of a number of wonderful celebrations, even though I was not physically present. And the food was made with such love and care.
In the gospel today, jesus is surrounded by hundreds of hungry people and wants to satisfy their hunger…spiritual and physical. When the people had eaten their fill, the “leftovers” filled SEVEN baskets, the number of days it took God to create the days , which included the day of rest. Seven is also a number that signifies completion. Jesus did not discard the leftovers but saved them in baskets.
Perhaps to “complete ” the meal, these “leftovers ” we’re given to the poor, and in the feeding of the poor, the deepest hungers of the people were truly satisfied. Eating leftover food connects the one eating with those who have prepared and already eaten.
The ” Leftovers” become a bridge, spiritually connecting people who could not be present as the meal was first served, with those who ate the meal. This “bridge” of food heals loneliness and warms hearts, as much as it satisfies physical hunger.
When I think of what kind of Thanksgiving I had, I remember not only the meal I shared with my family on the day itself, but several other meals surrounded by loving people. All the leftovers made this possible. My feast was truly complete in the eating of these leftovers, which filled “seven baskets” to the brim and beyond. The deepest hungers of the heart are fed with simple “leftovers.” My day was “complete.”
Buen camino. Padre

The Dawning of a New Day. December 1, 2015

I sat in my dark chapel this morning watching the eastern sky slowing coming to light, in reds and pink horizon. Beautiful. God enters our lives in ways not readily perceptible to the senses, but nonetheless, God is dawning in our lives like the first rays of sun. It takes time and patience to let this Divine Light surround us in a blanket of love.

In today’s gospel, jesus heals the servant of the Centurion, a man who is the “outsider” but who sees in jesus One who transforms and heals. This Centurion doesn’t want jesus to come into his home to heal the servant because, “I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.” For those who are Catholic, you will recognize these words of the Centurion as the prayer we say before receiving Holy Communion: “Oh Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. ” Yes, this prayer at Mass is the prayer of the Centurion.
Jesus commends this simple outsider as a man of great faith. For the Centurion, God entered his life slowly and quietly through the way that Jesus responded to people. A “new day” dawned for this Centurion as the Light surrounded his heart, freeing him to see God in new and surprising ways. The beautiful hues of God’s presence colored his life in hope and joy as Jesus most assuredly entered “under his roof ,” transforming him into someone deeply “worthy.”

God dawns in our lives like the early sun, slowly, often catching us off guard. God enters….
In patient waiting in line for our coffee;
Noticing the smile of a co-worker;
In reaching out to a lonely neighbor;
When we let go of annoyances;
By refusing to gossip;
In small doses of wordless prayer;
When we are grateful;

The list goes on for it is endless… the small ways God dawns in our lives. But it takes practice and patience and a touch of gentle discipline to slowly to rise out of the darkness of self centeredness and into the light of selfless love.
Buen camino. Padre