1 Kgs 17:10-16
Mk 12:38-44 or 12:41-44
Enough Oil in my Jug
I was sitting quietly, trying to slow my very full brain, trying to empty out a little bit before the liturgy began. My friend to my right said, “Move down these people need more seats”. So I did. Again trying to drop into that ever so evasive quiet place within, a woman from my left moved into the pew and said, do you need all that room to your right? “The folks to our right are expecting more people”. My friend to the right said, “We have lots of room.” The lady to my left said in a somewhat defensive tone, “After all these pews should fit eight people!” I responded defensively, “Whatever you say!”
And so began the liturgy of the Eucharist where all are welcomed!
I have to admit I was frustrated with my friend, who had verbally shoved me (from my perspective) down the pew in the first place and then the lady who came in from my left; words took that irritation to a whole new level. Shortly after our brief interchange I had to turn to her and say hello, thank God we didn’t have to do the sign of peace yet, as I was no where near feeling those words.
I didn’t have any secrets with my inner feelings to myself, but I had a long way to go to get from there to what I wanted to feel at the sign of peace toward my two neighbors. The first reading was like an arrow through the heart. I felt like the woman who barely had enough oil and flour to make the one cake for her son and herself. I came to church this morning undone and scattered. How was I to move from that place of scarcity within to having enough to go far beyond where I had sunk to?
I think the prophets and Jesus have their nerve, they are so often asking those who have less to give more. There the lady was with hardly enough food to survive and Elijah asks for the little she has to be shared, I have to admit, I was right with her. And then she dares to risk sharing the little she has with this traveling prophet and much to both her and my surprise there is not only enough, there is an abundance of ingredients left for a year of making bread.
You can imagine where that put me! I needed to reach deeper and pray for the grace to move out of my crabby frustration. I heard myself praying to call back those negative thoughts I had sent to the woman after our interaction. Further more, I asked that I might appreciate how she is loved by God as much as I am. None of this happened quickly. However, by the Our Father I could take her hand and hold it with the intention of her being my sister. By the end of the liturgy I could apologize for being so crabby at the beginning of mass about having enough space.
As Elijah and the lady taught me, there is enough grace for the smallest and the greatest of miracles to happen.