Last Sunday I finished my all night call, which begins at 4:30PM the previous day and ends the next morning at 8:00AM, I was hungry. I planned to go to 9:30 liturgy before going home to sleep and I knew it would be quite a while before I really ate a meal again. So I headed off to the cafeteria with my debit card in hand. I chose a delicious looking chocolate donut and headed to the check out. The clerk asked me if I had money as it would cost more to run the debit card than the donut was worth. I explained that I didn’t and was ready to let go of the donut.
The clerk then said, don’t worry you can just have it. Feeling somewhat awkward about the whole situation I asked if I might bring the money down the next day. Before she even had a chance to answer, a person in the other line said, “I will take care of it.” Again feeling a bit embarrassed I thanked the woman who paid for my donut, and headed out of the cafeteria. I must admit the donut looked better than tasted, however, I learned some things about myself.
I want to be independent and pay for what I get. I am willing to forgo the thing if something happens and it appears that I don’t have the money for “whatever.” I go first to embarrassment when someone offers generosity. My embarrassment does not take my manners of expressing thanks to someone who is generous to me.
On Sunday January 11th, the Lord in the first reading from Isaiah invites all of us who are thirsty and hungry to come and have our thirst quenched and our hunger fed. Not only will these bodily needs be met, they will be given in abundance and freely. This invitation goes on to invite the hearer of the word to accept the gift of a covenant which will be everlasting. WOW.
It struck me as I heard the readings that I might not be ready to receive this level of generosity, especially as I thought about my cafeteria experience. I think when I heard this reading before I would feel a smile in my heart and think how wonderful. However, what we are being offered in this reading from Isaiah is more than wonderful, it is amazing! Do I have the openness to accept these gifts of abundance? Am I able to let go of being in control in order that I can open my hands and heart to the level in which I will be fed and made whole? What do I need to let go of in order to respond to all of this?
Both in the last line of the reading from Isaiah and the gospel I am given some clues as to how to prepare. In the reading from Isaiah I am invited to “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near.” In the modeling of Jesus, I am invited to place myself in the presence of those who carry the message of the kingdom. I am also invited to open my eyes and ears so that when God speaks and the spirit is present, I too, will be able to see “the heavens being open and the Spirit descending…and if I can still myself I may even be fed by the divine food of fellowship where I can hear within, “You are my beloved daughter, with you I am well pleased.”