2Kgs 4:42-44/Eph 4:1-6/Jn 6:1-15
Part of the glory of God is that no matter how many times you hear Scripture proclaimed, the message is as new as the first time you heard it. This especially rings true with John's Gospel story of the fishes and the loaves.
As I was walking out of Mass this morning, one of our resident homeless approached me. Diane has been on the streets for over 10 years. She is in her 50's or 60's--it's hard to tell. While some faithful get their inspiration through visions and locutions, God has a sense of humor with me. Somehow He sends me signs through an interesting collection of people. I believe that He has sent Diane to me in a profound way.
I have had a lot on my mind lately. Do you ever have times in your life when you can't imagine one more thing being turned upside down? That's where I am right now. I was walking into Mass running through all life's trials and tribulations, when Diane approached asking if I could spare some change for coffee. I promised her I would stop after Mass to help her out.
After a very prayerful Liturgy, I found Diane waiting for me in the vestibule. I apologized for not being able to give her more than the dollar I had on me. "That's okay" she replied. "I have something for you."
From her pocket she pulled out a small metal relief of St. Therese of Lisieux that included a piece of cloth which had been touched to one of the Little Flower's relics. On the back it had St. Therese's promise to us: “I will let fall of shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good on earth.”
"Someone gave this to me but I want you to have it. I know that you need it. I am really happy, you know. I stay here in the Church and pray and read my Bible. I get along okay and I love you. God loves you, too." She gave me a hug as I took the gift.
As I walked out to my car, I broke down. Diane has nothing. No job; little education. No transportation save walking or buses when she can get the fare. No family to care for her. She lives in a flea bag motel when she can scrape together enough from begging for a room--other than that she lives on the streets. Diane grocery shops at local gas stations and wears the same tattered clothes winter, spring, summer, and fall. She has suffered abuse from being on the streets and her health is getting fragile. She lives solely off of the kindness of others. Despite all this, she is concerned about my welfare and always reminds me how much I am loved.
St. Therese is a special saint to me for many reasons: her struggles of faith, the spirituality of her Little Way, and so much more. I pray for her intercession frequently and had been asking for her guidance and light, as recently as last night. In a very special way, I believe Therese sent Diane to me this morning to let me know my prayers were heard. God is good.
When we hear John’s Gospel of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes, we may be drawn to all of the theological implications and understandings. It contains the foreshadowing of the Eucharist, a foundation for His teachings on God's generosity, and much more. Today, that reading speaks to me in a very profound way through Diane.
Diane has very little, yet her presence has made a huge impact on me. She has taken the five loaves and two fishes and through her presence--begging from us to be fed, feeds us in a multitude of ways as she reminds us to love all, embrace all, and remind all of how much God loves us. The Gospel lives in her and is proclaimed by her in all its simplicity and awesomeness. She is God's evangelist, for sure.
I have the small metallic relief of St. Therese in my car, tucked in my visor. She is watching over me as I travel about, and the relic will remind me that I have powerful intercessors both in heaven and here, on earth. As I said earlier, God is good. He reminds us of that in the simplest and most profound ways--through the glory of Scripture and the Liturgy, the Sacraments, and the special angels he sends to us each and every day.