Scripture Message and Food Insecurity

On this Sunday, all the scriptures (Is 25:6-10A, Philip 4:12-14, 19-20, Mt 22:1-14) reference food. I invite you to read and reflect on them in relation to our times.

According to the U.S.D.A, there over 37 million people in the United States, that is equivelant to the entire population of Texas and Arizona, who are food insecure. These individuals and families go hungry or eat low quality food because of the lack of money and other resources. The pandemic has made the situation worst. Conservative estimates indicate that 1 in 8 Americans do not have enough food to eat. Think about that for a moment. One out of eight people you will encounter today is food insecure.

Christians have a responsibility to be generous to the community at all times but especially in times of need. People are in need for food. That gives us an opportunity to be generous, to share in their distress. That is what God desires from us. There is no doubt that our prayers are important, but our generosity is what pleases Jesus and those in need: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13). Paul confirmed Jesus’ command when he said to the Philippians: “I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry…. I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress” (Phil 4: 12-13).

Recently, I read a Jewish story about generosity which captures today’s themes. The story says that “in hell, people sit around a great banquet table piled high with food. Each person is given a fork six food in length, far too long for them to maneuver into their mouths. They are starving. In heaven, on the other hand, people sit around exactly the same banquet. But in heaven each feeds the person across the table. And in so doing, all are filled” (Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path to Mussar).

I encourage you today to take a moment to think about how you can help people experiencing food insecurity. Can you make a contribution – money or time – to an organization like Catholic Charities or your local food bank? Can you spare a coin to someone in need? Can you make that a habit? How can you influence our government, civic, and religious institutions to help those suffering from food insecurity?

Finally, I pray to God that if you are suffering from food insecurity that He guards your hope. That you keep Paul’s words in your heart: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” Trust in Isaiah’s words: “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all people a feast of rich food and choice of wines” (Is 25:6). That you accept Jesus’ invitation to “come to the feast” of the Eucharist.

Let’s pray:

Sharing the loaves and fishes,
You gave us an image of solidarity with the hungry, O Lord.
Sharing yourself in the bread and wine,
You called all to the table, O Lord.
Give me the hunger to be a part of the feeding
And the healing of this world.
Nourish me with your Grace,
So I may work with joy to serve your children.
Open my eyes and my heart
To recognize those in poverty
And increase my awareness
Of the structures and systems
That need to be changed
So we may all break bread together.
In your name we pray for the end of hunger.

  • Prayer for the End of Hunger, Jesuit Resource Education for Justice

May God bless you.

Do not Worry! Riiiiiiiight…

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6:34)

Do not worry about tomorrow!? Wow! That’s a juicy one for me; easier said than done. Worry has been a constant companion of mine. Sometimes, her presence is more present than others, but she is never too far away. Sometime I overcome my worries and sometimes they overcome me. So many things to worry about: What do people think about me?  How do I look? Do I have enough money, power, prestige? Am I making the right decisions? How is my English or my writing? Would I be able to support my family emotionally and financially? Am I Christian enough? Am I a good co-worker, father, or husband? How do I get what I need or want? Why are my wife and children this and that? The list goes on…

What leads to worry? Fear! When we are afraid we worry. Father Anthony De Mello, in his best-selling book Awareness, beautifully wrote the following about fear “It’s not that we fear the unknown. You cannot fear something that you don’t know. Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the known. That’s what you fear. Fear to lose something.” What are we afraid of losing – our pride, vanity, honor, power, wealth, reassure, affection, safety, loved ones, friendships, employment, etc.?

Worries in themselves are not terrible; they are part of our self-defense and survival kit; they can be a source of strength when facing uncertainty or difficult situations. However, when we let them control us or when they are misdirected, they could lead us to suffering; they become heavy emotional loads that hold us in bondage and harm others.

Fortunately for us, we have God by our side. God does not promise a worry-free existence. Life is full of misfortunes, successes, opportunities, and challenges; worries are part of being in this world. However, if we ask, God can give us strength, perseverance, consolation, and joy to live a life filled with light instead of fear.

When we surrender to God’s will, he shines his light on our darkness; If we do not surrender, “the path of the just is like shining light, that grows in brilliance till perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know on what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:18:19). Moreover, when we walk in the light, we become God’s light to the world: “You are the light of the world…your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father…you are a guide for the blind and a light for those in darkness” (Matthew 5:14, 16; Romans 2:19).  When we offer up our worries to him and go about our life without grumbling or questioning, we are like “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom  you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)

Worries have always been a “thorn on my side.” Like Paul, I have asked the Lord to remove it. Conversely, I have been just as unsuccessful. However, I hope like Paul did that the Lord’s “grace is sufficient” for me “for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12: 8-9).

The next time I am worried, I will make an effort to become aware of her power and the opportunity for spirituality. I will face my fear with courage even if I fail trying. I will pray “teach me, Lord, your way that I may walk in your truth.” (Psalm 86:11). I will remember Christ’s words “Do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. ” (Matthew 6:31-34)

Acceptance of Divine Will Prayer

May the most just, most lovable, and the most high will of God be done, be fulfilled, be praised and exalted in all things forever.

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