Saturday, March 1, 2014

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community/8th Sunday in Ordinary Time by Beverely Bingle, RCWP

When I applied to adopt, I was told that adoption of older children
could involve food issues, that the kids might test me by eating
nothing to see if I cared, or eating everything to see what I would do
when there was no food left in the house. Even so, I was awed at how
it played out with John and Judy.

They arrived at 1 on Friday afternoon, December 18, 1981, for their
first home visit. I had stocked up--enough food, I thought, for a
week. They'd have lots of choices in their weekend stay. By noon
Saturday the kids had gone through a dozen eggs, a crockpot of chili,
two boxes of cereal, two gallons of milk, a hand of bananas, a dozen
apples, a batch of chocolate chip cookies, three loaves of bread, a
beef roast, mashed potatoes.... well, you get the picture. That's when
I passed the test--I bundled them in the car and we went to the grocery
store. The food insecurity didn't go away after the adoption--until he
moved away when he was 19, John squirreled food away--I'd find plates
and bowls of desiccated or moldy food tucked away under the bed and in
the closet. He never got over the fear that there wouldn't be enough,
that the next meal might not be there.

The insecure poor--Jesus' primary audience. And what does he tell
them? "Enough worrying about tomorrow!"

And then there are the folks who gather more than they could ever use.
My maternal grandparents went through the Depression, and they never
forgot. Whenever there was a sale, they'd buy some. They had enough
toilet paper to stock the whole Seagate Center. It could have been
otherwise, but their economy has proved to be a blessing: they taught
their children and grandchildren the virtues of frugality and
stewardship coupled with help for their neighbors in need. Others
haven't been so blessed--experiences of deprivation can also plant
seeds of various types of hoarding. The signs of it are pretty
obvious when you travel down I-75 and see the rows of storage units
for rent by those whose "stuff" no longer fits in their house and

They're the "insecure rich"--another of Jesus' primary audiences. Like
the insecure poor, they are also afraid they won't have enough--not
enough vacations, not a big enough house, not a new enough car, not
enough clothes of the right label, not enough of those adult "toys."

Most of us don't go to those extremes, but fear can motivate us in
subtle ways. I find TV ads instructive about being "good enough."
Corporations spend billions on research to find out what will convince
us to buy their products. I see ads that tell me I'm not important
enough, or "in" enough, or up-to-date enough, unless I buy a certain
brand. I see ads that tell me I won't have a good enough time if I
don't buy a particular food or drink. I see ads that suggest that
their company is like a person, so I'll be cared about enough if I buy
their product. They all are about spending money to get something
that will make me a whole person, a person who has enough.

Sometimes it's about a job. Harry Randall Truman, who ran a lodge on
Mount Saint Helens, ignored the warnings that it was about to erupt.
He made national news when he said, "If this place is gonna go, I want
to go with it, 'cause if I lost it, it would kill me in a week
anyway." Jesus said not to worry about our livelihood, but Harry
made an idol out of his workplace. He died in his lodge when the
volcano erupted in May 1980. Jesus said to trust in God's love and be
confident that it's going to be okay. Relax. Share. Give away the
extras. Welcome folks--so no "stand your ground," no "concealed

Wordsworth wrote a poem back in 1806, saying:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.
Yes, we use our lives--our powers--getting and spending.

Pope Francis tells us that we idolize money. He asks, "How can it be
that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of
exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
He says we don't care bout people; we only care about getting and
spending. The values of our culture are indeed skewed.

Here at Holy Spirit we are counter-cultural. I see a generous,
loving, welcoming community. People hang around and enjoy talking
with one another after Masses. I run into you here and there around
town, doing good. When I'm out and about, someone will inevitably
come up to me and tell me about something you did or said or gave that
made a difference.

We're about to step onto the porch of Lent, and the Gospel today tells
us not to worry about our livelihood, what we are to eat or drink or
use for clothes. Seek God, and God's justice, we're told. Everything
else will be taken care of.

One of the ways to approach our Lenten practices would be to look for
any insecurities in our lives and shape a six-week exercise to learn
trust. We could end up in a Holy Week of security in God's reign,
finding security in doing God's justice.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor

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