Monday, August 7, 2017

The man in the flood

August 7, 2017

Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 407

NM 11:4B-15

PS 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

MT 14:13-21

There is an amusing story about a man who wanted God to save him from a flood.   In the story (link here) God keeps sending people to save the man.  A group of neighbors in a car, a boat after the flood, a helicopter as the house began to be submerged.  Every time that they offered to help him the man said: “God will save me.”  Then after drowning in the rising water the man demands of God, why didn’t you help me? I asked you to save me and you let me die!  To which of course God replies “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”

The Israelites had been freed physically from slavery but they were still slaves in their minds.   Here they were in the desert heading to the promised land and God was feeding them with mana every single morning.  They asked for food and he had provided it.  Then they sat grumbling because they didn’t have the same luxuries and comforts they had when in Egypt.  They weren’t doing anything about it themselves either.  It wasn’t a problem they wanted meat, it was that they weren’t doing any work for it.  They were relying on God to give them what they wanted instead of working to get something themselves.  

Often we think of the problems of the world in the same way.  We begin to pray for another feeding of the loaves in the desert or mana from heaven, without stepping out of our comfort zone and being the hands and feet of Christ.  Like the Israelites in the desert, we are still trapped in a helpless state, on the roof of a sinking house wondering where God is.  We ourselves need to get in the car, the boat, the helicopter and go find those in need and help them.   St. James says in his epistle that it’s worthless to only offer a prayer for the man who is starving and cold, pray and help him.  Give him food, a cloak, a warm drink.  Then point him to the man who can feed him both physically and spiritually, Jesus Christ.  

The problem in our world is not that there isn’t enough food to go around.  We grow enough food crops for livestock production alone in the U.S. to feed every mouth.  What the problem is, is our hearts are still enslaved in our own Egypt.  We want our cheap burgers, our expensive lattes, and our big screen T.V.s.  Yes, those things are nice.  They are also much like the fleshpots and fresh vegetables in Egypt.  They draw us back time and time again, and no I am not saying that life can’t have pleasures.   What I am saying is that this statement here really changed my life:  I thought about asking God why he isn’t doing something about all the problems in the world, but I was afraid He might respond, “Why aren’t you?”