Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

03 August 2014

Plaque Buildup

Readings for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

I am fond of browsing in collectibles stores, thrift stores, and rummage sales. As the author of Deutero-Sirach may or may not have said, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." One never knows what will turn up, and what value, sentimental or otherwise, may resonate with the seeker. A few months ago I bought a reproduction of a painting of Christ healing a sick child in the arms of her mother. In light of my new ministry, this painting has merited some meditation time.

Recently (I won't say where) I came across two used baptismal candles. What does that say about their former owners' attitude towards Baptism? For all I know, however, those persons might have died and their families thought that the new generation might profit from the candles--even though I don't know of a parish that doesn't spring for their new parishioners' baptismal candles! I "had" to buy them, lest they go to profane use.

Some years ago a small wooden plaque caught my eye. Beneath the standard Olan Mills Protestant portrait of Our Lord was the saying:
Only one life--'Twill soon be past, 
Only what's done for Christ will last.
See what I mean with Jesus?
After years of buying this and that, I've started to clean house for things I can throw away, give away, or maybe maybe use. At first, it went in the give-away pile; but the events of late Saturday morning impressed me with the significance of the plaque, perhaps convincing me to keep it a bit longer.

I was paged to attend to a dying woman in the Emergency Room (I can't say who, or which ER). It was evident that she wasn't long for this world.

A favorite quote, from this weekend's first reading, came to mind:
Why spend your money for what is not bread, your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Put another way,
Only one life--'Twill soon be past, 
Only what's done for Christ will last.
In anticipation of His Eucharistic Gift of Self, Jesus secured miraculous bread for the hungry crowd. It wasn't likely anyone's last meal, and certainly not Our Lord's. Could this ailing woman have pulled through? Only God knows, and He ain't sayin'! But one of the hospital Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion reminded me on Friday that we don't know when we'll be called home to the Lord. His own wife was a case in point!

Rather than paralyze us with fear, this thought should energize us for each day's bread of prayer and service. As He did with the bread on the mountain and with the heavenly Bread at the Last Supper, Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and gives us, making of us more than we ever could have imagined, if we wish Him to do so.

Whatever we choose to do in a day, whatever we are forced to suffer--if we choose or accept it for love of Christ, He will make of it a bread that does not fail to satisfy. With our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings, we can nourish untold thousands!

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