Scripture Reflection . . .
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: 2 Kings 4:42-44
Responsorial Psalm:Psalm 145 “The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.”
Second Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6
Gospel: John 6:1-15
After feeding a large crowd (with five loaves of bread and two fish!) Jesus directs his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing is wasted.”
Jesus is acutely aware of the little details. Not only does he provide food, he is concerned about the leftovers; what we might consider waste. How often, when we have the opportunity to enjoy a dinner out at a restaurant or at the house of a friend, we don’t give the remanents on our plate a second thought.
Our society in the US is probably the biggest producer of waste – not just food, but it’s fair to say, of everything. Our Reflection last week addressed our insatiable need to have more. Yet, nothing seems to fI’ll that space so we get rid of it and look for something else.
What would happen if nothing was wasted? Would there be enough to feed a crowd? Would there be enough resources for all people and creation?
Additionally, St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians encourages us not to waste the call; not to waste the gifts we have received. We are invited to examine our lives. How do we live out the love we have first received from God? Are we grateful? How do we allow this love to deepen and bear fruit in our lives?
Ultimately, nothing and no one is considered waste in God’s eyes. The smallest detail, the most vulnerable person, the person who seems to have it all: all are treasured by God.
We are challenged to contradict this “throw away” culture and treat ourselves, others and all resources with respect.
In Our Lives as Sisters of the Redeemer . . .
This past week we said farewell to a woman who joined us for an entire year as a volunteer with our Redeemer Ministry .Corps program. Leaving her job as a kindergarten teacher, she served at our long term care facility to be present to the elderly Residents. Some may consider this a wasted year, but we observed in this young woman a sense of peace and gratitude. She herself stated, “This has been the best year of my life!”
Two nursing students arrived from Germany for a three week internship at our hospital to experience healthcare in the US. They arrived but unfortunately their luggage did not. Thankfully our thrift store was a great resource to provide the necessary clothing until their belongings show up. One persons unwanted clothing helps another – nothing wasted.
Thankfully our community garden is producing abundant crops this year. It is always a challenge to distribute the produce before it goes bad. We continue to build connections with our own and other food cupboards, as well as other outreach ministries such as Aid for Friends.
As a religious community we value care for Earth as important as care for people. It can no longer be denied that one effects the other. If we as a people reduce our waste (both of physical matter and our God given gifts) then there will be enough of Earth’s resources to sustain all peoples. Therefore, we have made a promise
“To choose simplicity of life by sharing what we have and using only what we need to sustain ourselves and our mission in order that the world’s abundant resources may be available to present and future generations.”
In Your Life . . .
May Today’s scripture readings inspire you to examine your life through the loving eyes of God. Look back over just this day. Ask yourself:
”How have I responded to the love I have received as a child of God? How have I been aware, grateful, sharing?”
”How have I respected the resources that I have utilized today (food, clothing, water, electricity, other stuff)?
To conclude, you may wish to pray with the alternate Opening Prayer offered on this Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time:
God our Father,
open our eyes to see your hand at work
in the splendor of creation,
in the beauty of human life.
Touched by your hand our world is holy.
Help us to cherish the gifts that surround us,
to share your blessings with our brothers and sisters,
and to experience the joy of life in your presence.
Blessings on your week!