Spaghetti and More
When I was growing up, the sixth of seven children, we ate on normal days in the kitchen for our meals. We had two long benches and my parents sat at both ends of the table both to keep us in line and to be able to get up from the table with ease. Some nights it was more one than the other!

But there were special times when we would eat in the dining room. These meals often included using the china and on the very special days it also included using the sterling silverware. On occasions, our special meal served the purpose of not only setting this or that meal as special, but it was also used by my mom as a chance to teach us how to eat for the “public.” As you might imagine there were not a lot of times when our family would go out to eat due to cost, but my mom wanted us to be ready for the day we would. It was very important to her that we would know the right way to eat at table with more than three utensils sitting, two to the right of our plate and one to the left on top of the napkin.

My favorite and most difficult lesson was learning how to use a fork and large spoon to eat spaghetti. This involved the ability to take some long (not cut) spaghetti with my fork and put the fork against the inside to the bit spoon and begin to roll the spaghetti around the fork. The goal was to be able to bring the fork to one’s mouth with the right quantity of spaghetti and then eat it. This lesson took a long time for me to learn. At some point it happened and I found myself utilizing the magic of the fork and spoon as a way eating the spaghetti. In fact, I now know what it means to be in “public” and bringing my mom’s lesson into action.

In the readings today, the psalmist invites us to ask the Lord to teach us the way…later…Jesus invites his disciples to come and follow him. I think that the Spirit of Jesus is much like my mom. We are given many opportunities to learn how to be in the “public” with the dynamic invitation to repent and follow…and the challenge for us is to seize the opportunity when Jesus calls our name and invites to come, because the “kingdom is at hand.”

Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15