Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'Just enough...until the Lord sends rain' (Sunday homily)

(From notes)

In the first reading, the prophet Elijah asks for "a bit of bread"--
and when the widow hesitates, he promises
that her store "shall not run dry until the day when the Lord sends rain."
The text suggests that the promise is not that her supplies would overflow--
but that there would be just enough each day; until the rains come.

We might chose to see this passage symbolically--
with the rain as the Holy Spirit falling on the earth to bring life--revival.
We certainly need that.

We live in strange times, in which things we would have taken for granted
are under constant assault.
Who would have thought it would be necessary to vote to protect the institution of marriage;
and on Tuesday, the state of Maine did just that, by a close margin.

Father Tom and I were in Columbus on Thursday and Friday,
along with all the bishops of the state, and 700 priests from the whole state.
The U.S. bishops are preparing a letter on marriage,
and we were there to reflect on it and to prepare for when it is issued.
We heard some bad news about the state of things, and hopeful news.
On our drive back home, we talked about
how we could best use what we heard and talked about to help couples.
And I would ask you--tell us, what can we do to help you?
Whatever little bit you may have to offer, please share it with us. We want to help.

These are strange times. The faith of many seems so weak,
as people sometimes drift off and we wonder why.
We need rain; we need revival!
How will that come? Our prayers--our faith--offered for revival.
You may feel you haven't much to offer, but put it in, all the same.

If we continue to see this passage as symbolic,
we might see the woman as the Church, and the son as us.
It is here that we come, and we find enough to get us through.
In the back of church is a bit of bread. It's not very fancy;
we could get nicer, fancier bread at Panera, or make it ourselves--but that isn't the point.

The Lord takes just a handful, and transforms it into himself.
And it is enough! Enough to sustain us, day by day: "give us this day our daily Bread."
That's why we come here. We find what we need here.
And we put in what we have, while we pray for rain.

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