Drought’s effect on our food supplies is making all the headlines lately, but there’s another drought that’s just as widespread in the world but is being ignored. Spiritual drought is evident to anyone who attends Sunday mass on a regular basis. Today’s noon mass had about half the attendance it normally has. That’s why today’s readings resonated a bit louder for me.
In the reading from the Second book of Kings and from John, a little food goes a long way in feeding the spiritually-starved.
Kings: “He served them; they ate and had some left over, as Yahweh had said.”
John: “When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing is wasted.’ So they picked them up and filled twelve large baskets with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves.”
It’s hard to ignore both the substance and symbolism these readings share. In John, especially, Jesus’ abundance of wisdom is to be distributed to the world for ages to come, starting with those 12 containers Jesus chose himself, and thenceforth by succeeding generations of Brothers in Christ and their families.
There is widespread drought across our country today, both agricultural and spiritual. But the real headlines from today’s readings is “Truth Plus Faith Equals Fulfillment.” Paul’s letter to the Ephesians tells us how to spread that good news:
“Lead a life worthy of the vocation to which you were called. With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love. Take every care to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, over all, through all and within all.”
All Brothers in Christ are called to plant this one hope within their families, and from that seemingly sparse food source they can end the world’s spiritual drought.