Poor.

November 11th Sunday Readings.

jordan-rowland-716475-unsplashA number of years ago my friend was lamenting his current faith practice. He shared that when he was in college and right after college, he would attend daily Mass. He started and ended his day with Liturgy of the Hours. He had a weekly holy hour in an Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. He would stop and pray the Angelus in the middle of the day. He read scripture and studied theology. He had intense, spiritual conversations late into the night with faithful friends. But at the time he was sharing, he said if he prayed in the morning and said goodnight to God that was a good prayer day. 

I asked him what changed and he said, “I got married and had kids.” 

He explained that for a while he beat himself up about this. He was frustrated and tired and no matter what he tried, it was difficult to practice his faith like he did when he was in his early 20s. 

That was until a priest friend explained that after giving himself away to his family all day, whatever my friend gave to God was a treasure. In the gospel, Jesus admires the poor widow who gave what little money she had to the treasury. My friend wasn’t financially poor, but his poverty had to do with how much time he had. My friend was time poor. 

So when it came to giving God time, even though he felt like he was praying so muchandrik-langfield-426760-unsplash less than he used to, God was receiving an even greater treasure. He was receiving what little time my friend had as a gift of prayer. 

Where is your poverty? What do you lack? Do you wish you had more time, money, friendships, joy, faith, or focus? Where in your life are you like the poor widow? What would it look like if you gave that thing to God? What would it look like if you gave God your poverty?

LIVE IT:
Take out a sheet of paper. Write down 3 things you feel you are lacking in your life. Then write down a way you can give each to God. Do one of those things this week. 

The Good Word for Nov. 23rd

For the complete Sunday readings click here.

My wife is amazing. The other day we had some of our couple friends over. We all have elementary-aged kids. The adults were all down stairs in our living room talking and the kids were upstairs playing in our playroom. All of a sudden we hear this shrill scream and instantly, all the moms start to get up until my wife says, “Ohh, that’s mine,” and runs upstairs to care for our 5 year-old.

Out of the fifteen kids who could have been screaming, how did she know it was Sophia? Because my wife is Sophia’s mom and Sophia is her child. Liz knows her children and her children know her.

In our first reading, from Ezekiel, God explains that he is a shepherd who really knows his own sheep. He knows them so well, that when they are scattered and separated, he will still go after them and find them. The lost he will find. The injured he will help. The sick he will heal. And those who are a little too full of themselves, he will humble.

The key to this passage is that we belong to God and he will do anything to bring us back into relationship with him. So the question is, if God wants to be close to us, how do we get close to him? Jesus answers this question in gospel.

Jesus says whenever we have helped the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, ill, or imprisoned we have helped him. And whenever we have been near to the least, we have been near to him. So, if you want to be close to Jesus, get close to the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized. It’s that simple.

Live It:
Make a plan to be close to the poor, vulnerable, or marginalized sometime this Advent. Need some help making your plan? Check out our website on ways you can reach out. https://www.hnoj.org/outreach