18 Sunday A - Multiplication

From the Connections:

Taking the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven, Jesus said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
Matthew 14: 13-21
What’s for dinner?
It’s a miracle you can re-create every evening in your own home.
First, everyone makes the time to be there.  Work, meetings, sports and school projects are put on hold.  Dinner time is sacred.
Next, everybody helps.  The younger kids set the table, the older kids learn to cook.  And during the week, everyone contributes to the tasks of meal planning and shopping.
When you sit down together, remember those who are away or who are no longer at your table.  Make a grandmother’s special soup and allow the children to savor her loving care much the way Mom and Dad did.  Give thanks for the neighbor whose garden provided the tomatoes in the salad.
And begin and end with gratitude.  Start with grace — with everyone participating.  Keep a candle lit on your table as a sign of God’s loving presence in your midst.  Literally break bread together — one person breaks off a small piece and passes the bread to the next person.
Meals are more than fueling stops for the body — meals enable families to experience the love and consolation that makes a household a family.  Family members who withdraw to different corners of the house to watch TV or work over a microwave meal sacrifice much more than nutrition.
The sharing of food is often the shape that love takes.
[Adapted from the essay “What’s for dinner?  A spoonful of cooperation, a pinch of memories, and a dash of prayer create family peace” by Mary Lynn Hendrickson, U.S. Catholic, April 2008.]
What happened in that “deserted place” when Jesus fed the crowds can happen in our own homes — not that we can take a few of fish sticks and a couple of dinner rolls and feed five thousand unexpected guests, but we can reconnect as a family over the gifts of God’s good earth.  More astounding than Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand is Jesus’ transforming them into a community, a community who becomes one in their need, one in the bread they share, one in the love of Christ who has brought them together.  Jesus empowers every one of us to perform our own miracle by imitating his three actions in today’s Gospel: to “bless” and give thanks for what God has given to us; to “break” from our blessings (including our time and energy) in order to contribute to the good of all; to share — to both give and receive — to realize the joys of loving family and community.  

Charles Swindoll tells a funny story about a nine-year-old named Danny who came bursting out of Sunday school like a wild stallion. His eyes were darting in every direction as he tried to locate either mom or dad. Finally, after a quick search, he grabbed his Daddy by the leg and yelled, "Man, that story of Moses and all those people crossing the Red Sea was great!" His father looked down, smiled, and asked the boy to tell him about it.

"Well, the Israelites got out of Egypt, but Pharaoh and his army chased after them. So the Jews ran as fast as they could until they got to the Red Sea. The Egyptian Army was gettin' closer and closer. So Moses got on his walkie-talkie and told the Israeli Air Force to bomb the Egyptians. While that was happening, the Israeli Navy built a pontoon bridge so the people could cross over. They made it!

By now old dad was shocked. "Is THAT the way they taught you the story?"

Well, no, not exactly," Danny admitted, "but if I told you the way they told it to us, you'd never believe it, Dad."
 With childlike innocence the little guy put his finger on the pulse of our sophisticated adult world where cool skepticism reigns supreme. It's more popular to operate in the black-and-white world of facts...and, of course, to leave no space for the miraculous.

And so when we read the story of the feeding of the five thousand, we tend to focus our attention on the question, "Did it really happen?" There have been a number of attempts to "explain" the miracle. One attempt says that the people were so moved by Jesus' generosity and the generosity of the little boy that they brought forth the food they had hidden under their clothes and in their traveling pouches. This way everyone was satisfied. Another theory says that the story is not really talking about physical hunger but spiritual hunger. When the small amount of food was passed around everyone tore off a minuscule symbolic fragment. In this Jesus is said to have satisfied the thirst of the soul not the stomach.

I think these questions say more about us than they do Jesus..
If you want to guarantee you will never win public office or be appointed to public service, just say these words: "America is no longer the greatest nation in the world." It used to be the US led the world in almost any category you could think of. But in the past 50 years we've fallen to 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number four in labor force, number four in exports. I'll stop there. You've got the picture.  
US does lead the world in some things.
We lead the world in television watching...28 hours/week.
We lead the world as the most expensive place to have a baby...about $10,000/child.
We lead the world in obesity (although Mexico is closing the gap fast).
We lead the world in anxiety disorders.
We lead the world in civilian firearms, beating out Yemen, Serbia and Iraq. The US now has more guns than people.
We lead the world in the highest incarceration rates, beating out Russia, China, Cuba and Iran. Our total prison population, including pre-trial detainees and remand prisoners, is 2,239,751.
We lead the world in the highest health expenditures.
We lead the world in the highest cocaine rates, although we're pretty much tied with Spain in this category.
But one category we beat the rest of the world hands-down. NO contest. Not even close. We are #1 in NOT taking vacations. We are the worst vacationers in the world.  
We stink - or excel, depending on how you see it - at taking vacation time, even when it's rightfully ours. Throughout Europe there are statutory minimum vacation days that employees MUST take. The minimum is 25 days. Twenty-five days! Believe you me, these European workers take each and every one of them....
 And Hungry People Were Fed

A number of years ago young Matthew LeSage, a third-grader, wanted to do something to help the hungry in his city. So he started a program, Hams for the Hungry. In its fourth year, Hams for the Hungry raised $40,000 to brighten the holiday season for people with limited resources.

Matthew's story reminds me of another young man, 13 years old at the time, who read about Dr. Albert Schweitzer's missionary work in Africa. He wanted to help. He had enough money to buy one bottle of aspirin. He wrote to the Air Force and asked if they could fly over Dr. Schweitzer's hospital and drop the bottle down to him. A radio station broadcast the story about this young fellow's concern for helping others. Others responded as well. Eventually, he was flown by the government to Schweitzer's hospital along with 4 1/2 tons of medical supplies worth $400,000 freely given by thousands of people. This, of course, would be the equivalent of millions of dollars today. When Dr. Schweitzer heard the story, he said, "I never thought one child could do so much."

Our story from scripture for today is about a young man who didn't have much. But what he did have, he offered to Christ. And thousands of hungry people were fed.
King Duncan, You Feed Them!,
The Law of Abundance  
Stephen Covey, in his "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", talks about the Law of Abundance vs. the Law of Scarcity. There's plenty to go around. And the more you give, the more you have to give. But how interesting! Covey writes about this, and folks act like it is new. Jesus performed it, 2000 years ago, on a rocky hillside in Palestine. There is plenty of Jesus to go around! 
Doyle Sager, Everyone Ate, Everyone Was Filled
It Don't Add Up 
Perhaps you have heard the story of the football coach who had two quarterbacks. The first team quarterback was gifted, aggressive, and a born leader. The second string quarterback was, let us say, limited. Oh, he was athletic enough but unfortunately, he lacked a mind for strategy. The championship game was in progress, the score was tied, the home team had the ball, and the clock was ticking down. An opposing player broke through the line of scrimmage and slammed the star quarterback to the ground with such force that the signal-caller had to leave the game. Time was running out. The coach had no choice but to put in the back-up. The substitute trotted onto the field, huddled the team, and strode up to the line of scrimmage. 
Surveying the opposing team, and much to everyone's surprise, he changed the play at the line. The ball was snapped, the quarterback handed it off to the half-back who busted up the middle and sped all the way into the end zone with the winning touchdown! An amazing play. Moments later, in the ecstatic dressing room, the coach grabbed his second-team quarterback by the shoulder pads and said, "Son, that was great! How did you know to call that play?" The boy said, "Uh, well coach, it weren't easy. I got up to the line and looked across at two of the biggest players I've ever seen and I seen their numbers. One of 'em was wearing a six and the other one was wearing a seven, so I just added them numbers together and got fourteen and called number fourteen." The coach hesitated a moment and said, "But son, six and seven make 13." 
The boy, quite unmoved by the correction, said, "You know what coach? If I was as smart as you, we would have lost the game." Things do not always add up the way they are supposed to, do they? 
Traditional Stories,
The Negative Verses the Positive
 Outside a small town in New Mexico is a sign that reads as follows: "Welcome to Portales, New Mexico, home of 12,493 friendly folks and 8 or 10 grouches."
 Isn't that the way it is everywhere? There are always a few negative folks around to tell you that Murphy's laws will ruin everything. I like the story about the little boy who was trying to raise some money by collecting old bottles, going door-to-door in his neighborhood. When he came to the home of a woman who was the "town grouch," the little boy asked, "Do you have any coke bottles?" "No," she replied with a scowl. Then he said, "Do you have any old whiskey bottles?" "Young man," the woman replied, "Do I look like the type of person who would have old whiskey bottles?"
The little boy studied her for a moment and then asked, "Well, do you have any old vinegar bottles?"
Isn't it tragic that some people go through life so negative and sour and bitter? And if you don't watch out, they will infect you with their thinking.
How can we live positively in this world where much is discouraging? I think I see some clues in one of the miracle stories of the Bible. Jesus once fed 10,000 people with only five loaves of barley bread and two little fish. The disciples saw the negatives but Jesus understood the positive presence of a little food.  
Bill Bouknight,
Before We Taste Abundance  
How often it is that we do not seek God from the fullness of our lives, but from the dearth. We are regularly reminded that as Christians, we do best when we live out of our 'theology of abundance' rather than scarcity. However, the reality is we more clearly see our need for God from our times and places of pain. Even Jesus took time to go "to a deserted place by himself". He knew he needed to clear his mind of all the insults, false accusations and the conceit. Before we taste of the abundance given to us from God through Christ, we are invited to the deserted place apart. We are invited to come to a place of hunger. We are called toward a time of separation so that we can more clearly focus on who and what we have.  
Wanda Copeland, Reflection on Matthew 14: 13-21.
"You Feed Them."
Tony Campolo is a professor of sociology and a popular speaker. He was once invited to a women's conference where he was to give a major address. These women were being challenged to raise several thousand dollars for a mission project goal. While Campolo was sitting on the dais, the chairperson turned to him and asked him if he would pray for God's blessing as they considered their individual responses to the goal. Campolo stood and--to the utter amazement of everyone present--graciously said "no." He approached the microphone and said, "You already have all the resources necessary to complete this mission project right here within this room. It would be inappropriate to ask for God's blessing, when in fact God has already blessed you with the abundance and the means to achieve this goal. The necessary gifts are in your hands. As soon as we take the offering and underwrite this mission project, we will thank God for freeing us to be the generous, responsible and accountable stewards that we're called to be as Christian disciples." And they did. 

Wow! Leave it to Tony Campolo to hit the nail right on the thumb! Jesus says, "You feed them!" And we can! This is a rich world and we are rich people!  
King Duncan, "You Feed Them!"
Taking Care of the Crowd  
Too often, we think that giving our lives to God is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the altar, saying, "Here's my life, Lord. I'm giving it all to you." But the truth of the matter is that God sends us to the bank and tells us to cash that $1,000 bill in for quarters. And then we go through life giving away twenty-five cents here, fifty cents there, and so on. Instead of watching a ball game, we spend some time visiting a lonely person in a nursing home who has no family. Instead of sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, we get dressed and go to teach Sunday school. Instead of playing games on the computer, we listen to a friend tell us about her problems, even though we're tired and have problems of our own to deal with.

These are the moments in which the grace of God can work through us to help another human being, to feed the hunger of the heart and spirit. They may not be spectacular miracles, but these are the things we can do to bring meaning and significance to our lives.  
Johnny Dean, How Much Is Enough?
Use What You Have...  
In 1872, at the age of 16, Booker T. Washington decided he wanted to go to school. He walked 500 miles to Hampton Institute in Virginia, and presented himself to the head teacher. Washington later recalled, "Having been so long without proper food, a bath, and change of clothing, I did not make a very favorable impression upon her, and I could see at once that there were doubts in her mind about me."
Finally she said to him, "The adjoining recitation room needs cleaning. Take the broom and do it." A lesser person might have been insulted by being assigned menial work. But Washington recognized immediately that this was his big chance. He swept that room three times and dusted it four times. He even cleaned the walls and the closets. Then he reported to the head teacher that the job was finished. She examined that room like a drill sergeant... 
From the Collection of Fr. Tony Kadavil: 
1.     “I shared my rice  because she has seven starving children:”   
From her personal experience, Mother Teresa relates a story showing how generous the poor are, and how ready to share what little they have with others because they themselves have experienced hunger and poverty. Learning of  a  poor  Hindu family in  Calcutta  who had been  starving for many days, Mother Teresa visited them and gave a parcel of rice to the mother of the family. She  was  surprised to  see  that  the  woman divided the  rice  into  two equal portions and gave one to her Moslem neighbor.   When Mother Teresa asked her why she had done such a sacrificial deed, the woman replied: “My family can manage with half of what you brought.  My neighbor’s family is in greater need because they have several children who are starving." Today’s gospel tells the story of a small boy who showed this same kind of generosity. By sharing his small lunch (which consisted of five slices of barley bread and two dried fish), he became the instrument of a miracle in Jesus’ hands. 
2.     "Cheeseburger Bill:"
Statistics tell us that Americans eat 75 acres of pizza, 53 million hot dogs, 167 million eggs, 3 million gallons of ice cream, and 3,000 tons of candy a day. As a result, fifty-five percent of American adults are overweight and 23 percent of us are obese, costing this country about 118 billion dollars in lost wages and medical expenses annually. On March 10 of 2004, the U.S. House of representatives passed a bill known as the "Cheeseburger Bill" designed to protect  fast  food  companies from  lawsuits  filed  by  overweight  people.  One billion of the world's richest people consume 80 percent of the earth's resources. The other five billion make do on the other 20 percent. The world has 840 million chronically malnourished people, most of them women and children. Seven million children in the world under the age of five die each year from malnutrition. Someone has noted that the average person BLINKS his eyes 13 times every minute, and in every minute 13 people starve to death.  Even in the U.S., there are 3.8 million families who experience hunger and up to 12 million families concerned about having enough food to feed their families. The problem is not how much food is available; the problem is distribution. In the U.S., food production  has  tripled  since  World  War  II  while  the  population  has  only doubled, so why are there hungry people? The percent of personal income given to charity in the United States was 2.9 percent during the Great Depression and
2.5 percent in 2002. Is hunger a problem of production or a lack of faith? Hunger is real. And food is the subject of the miracle in today’s gospel when Jesus miraculously fed the nearly 20,000 people present on that Galilean hillside. 
3.     Hams for the Hungry and Aspirin for the sick:
Four years ago young Matthew LeSage, a third-grader, wanted to do something to help the hungry in his city. So he started a program, Hams for the Hungry. This year, in its fourth year, Hams for the Hungry will raise $40,000 to brighten the holiday season for people with limited resources. Matthew's story reminds me of another young man, 13 years old at the time, who read about Dr. Albert Schweitzer's missionary work in Africa. He wanted to help. He had enough money to buy one bottle of aspirin. He wrote to the Air Force and asked if they could fly over Dr. Schweitzer's hospital and drop the bottle down to him. A radio station broadcast the story about this young fellow's concern for helping others. Others responded as well. Eventually, he was flown by the government to Schweitzer's hospital along with 4 1/2 tons of medical supplies worth $400,000 freely given by thousands of people. This, of course, would be the equivalent of millions of dollars today. When Dr. Schweitzer heard the story, he said, "I never thought one child could do so much.” Our story from scripture for today is about a young man who didn't have much. But what he did have, he offered to Christ. And thousands of hungry people were fed. 
4.     A  nervous  young  priest,  concluding  his  first  sermon,  told  the  flock,
"For  my  text  next  Sunday,  I  will  take  the  words,  “And  they  fed  five men   with   five   thousand   loaves   of   bread   and   two   thousand   fishes." A member of the flock raised his hand and said, "That's not much of a trick. I could  do  that."  The  priest  didn't  respond.  However,  the  next  Sunday  he decided to repeat the text. This time he did it properly, "And they fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fishes." Smiling, the priest said to the noisy man, "Could you do that, Mr. Perkins?" The member of the flock said,   "I   sure   could."   "How   would   you   do   it?"   asked   the   minister. "With all the food I had left over from last Sunday!" 
5.     We are over-eating ourselves to death:
Experts tell us that Americans eating themselves to death by over-eating. Obesity is America's number one health problem. The average American eats daily nine hundred more calories than he needs. It is reported that fifty percent of us are overweight. Fifty-three percent of the deaths are caused by diseases that are related to obesity. Americans spend annually ten billion dollars on diets and slimming programs. Even our dogs are over-fed. Look at the miserable contrast: the overfilled stomachs of dogs almost touching the ground and the bloated stomachs of children suffering from malnutrition! If we had compassion on the poor and hungry, we would voluntarily change our life-styles to those which would call for less food in-take. Then, we could take the money saved from buying less food and give it to our church's program to send food abroad to the destitute. One denomination within a two-year period gave eight million dollars for world hunger. This was possible because loyal members sacrificed by eating less that others might eat more. Jesus gave the bread to the Disciples to distribute to the people. In our day those who have, as America does, should have the compassion of Jesus to share with those who have little or no food. 
6.     Spiritual hunger leading people to New Age religions:
Physical hunger is a very real fact of life. Spiritual hunger is just as real. There are many millions more who are spiritually malnourished, and multitudes are dying of spiritual starvation. Many of the symptoms of spiritual hunger are seen here and all over the world. We see today spiritually hungry people who are going outside the church for soul food. This is a judgment upon the Church for apparently not satisfying the spiritual needs of the people. Forty-two million Americans, for instance, or one out of every five, has espoused astrology. They believe that the position of the stars has something to do with their daily lives. Two-thirds of our newspapers carry a daily horoscope. Eight out of every ten Americans can tell you under what star they were born. This turning to astrology is an indication that  people  are  looking  for  something  transcendent;  they  are  looking  for guidance from a force beyond themselves. Six million Americans have embraced Transcendental Meditation and thirty thousand new people each month are signing up for instruction. This points to a need for meditation to get in touch.with God, something many church people must feel they are not getting now. Add to this number five million people who are seeking union with God by Yoga. Three million Americans belong to the charismatic movement, meeting a desire for an experience with the Spirit. Many of these charismatics claim that the average church is cold and lacking in spiritual warmth. Add to this various heretical sects that are attracting people by the tens of thousands: Scientology and the Unification church by Moon.
7.     Junk food for the souls:
What is feeding our spirits? Many Americans get their food from television. It is reported that the average child watches twenty-three hours of television per week. By the time a child reaches age eighteen, he has watched twenty-three thousand hours of television, equivalent to three years of his life. And what do they get on television, what feeds their minds and hearts? They are fed materialism through the constant appearance of commercials, often six at a time. In 1976, it is said, television stations ran three hundred thirty-five thousand commercials per month! In these commercials we are fed with a materialistic  view  of  life.  We  are  told  that  things  make  life  happy  and worthwhile. Buy, buy, and have all the good things in life! On the other hand, television is feeding us with sex and violence, more of these coming each year. By the time a child reaches age eighteen, it is claimed that he has seen eighteen thousand murders. On children's television cartoons, an act of violence is shown at the rate of one per minute. These scenes of violence are sowing the seeds of hatred, brutality, and revenge in the minds of people. The tragedy of our times is that we are content to feed our souls with crackers when we could be getting a spiritual banquet. We are living on chaff and husks rather than the good meat of a steak.
8.     “You'd never believe it, Dad."
Charles Swindol tells a funny story about a nine-year-old named Danny who came bursting out of Sunday school like a wild stallion. His eyes were darting in every direction as he tried to locate either mom or dad. Finally, after a quick search, he grabbed his Daddy by the leg and yelled, "Man, that story of Moses and all those people crossing the Red Sea was great!" His father looked down, smiled, and asked the boy to tell him about it. “Well, the Israelites got out of Egypt, but Pharaoh and his army chased after them. So the Jews ran as fast as they could until they got to the Red Sea. The Egyptian Army was gettin' closer and closer. So Moses got on his walkie-talkie and told the Israeli Air Force to bomb the Egyptians. While that was happening, the Israeli Navy built a pontoon bridge so the people could cross over. They made it!” By now old dad was shocked. "Is THAT the way they taught you the story?" “Well, no, not exactly," Danny admitted, "but if I told you the way they told it to us, you'd never believe it, Dad."  It's more popular to operate in the black-and-white world of facts. .and, of course, to leave no space for the miraculous. And so when we read the story of the feeding of the five thousand, we tend to focus our attention on the question, "Did it really happen?" Or was it a miracle of sharing the bread people had with them? Some say that this young fellow's example encouraged other people to share food they had brought with them for the journey But today’s gospel presents it as a real miracle.
9.     We should rethink our own stewardship of the earth’s resources:
Did you know, for example, that six million Europeans eat as much food as 240 million Africans? Even more startling, the citizens of this country, who form only 5.7% of the world's population, eat half the food produced in the world. Somebody's eating more than his/her share! We spend ten times more money on the feeding of cats and dogs than the sovereign country of Guinea earns as its national income. We are an indulgent, wasteful people. We each need to examine our stewardship of the bounty with which God has blessed us.
10.  "I'll pay it for you."
In 1930, during the Great Depression, a man named Golden Rule Jones was mayor of Toledo, Ohio. During his term of office, he sometimes sat  as  the  presiding  judge  in  night  court.  One night a man was brought in for stealing money from a grocery store. His defence was that he needed the money for food and that he was simply a victim of hard times. Nevertheless, Golden Rule Jones found him guilty. "You did not steal from society." he said. "You stole from a private citizen and you broke the law. I'm fining you ten dollars. However," and he reached for his wallet, "I'll pay it for you." Next he instructed the bailiff to pass the hat around the courtroom. "I'm fining everybody here at least fifty cents. You're all guilty of being members of a society that made it necessary for this man to steal. The collection will go to the defendant."
11.  "Help, I can't swim:"
In one of his books, Chuck Swindoll tells about a very interesting case that came before the courts in the state of Massachusetts back in the 1920s. It concerned a man who had been walking along a pier when suddenly he tripped over a rope and fell into the cold, deep waters of that ocean bay. He came up sputtering, screaming for help, then sank beneath the surface. For some reason he was unable to swim or stay afloat. His friends heard his faint cries in the distance, but they were too far away to rescue him. But within only a few yards was a young man lounging on a deck chair, sunbathing. Not only could the sunbather hear the drowning man plead, "Help, I can't swim," he was also an excellent swimmer. But the tragedy is that he did nothing. He only turned his head to watch indifferently as the man finally sank and drowned. The family of the victim was so upset by that display of extreme indifference, they sued the sunbather. The result? They lost the case. With a measure of reluctance, the court ruled that the man on the dock had no legal responsibility whatsoever to try to save the drowning man's life. You and I can turn a deaf ear to the needy of this world. We can callously shrug our shoulders and say, "Let God feed them." But God  works  through  people  who  are  responsive  to  God's  leading.  There  is nothing in this world that cannot be accomplished. Jesus said, "You feed them!" And we can
12.  Christy, Grade III A.
A man was packing a shipment of food for the poor people  of  Appalachia.  He  was  separating  beans  from  powdered  milk,  and canned vegetables from canned meats. Reaching into a box filled with various cans, he pulled out a little brown paper sack. Apparently one of the pupils had brought something different from the items on the suggested list. Out of the paper bag fell a peanut butter sandwich, an apple, and a cookie. Crayoned in large letters was a little girl's name, "Christy, Grade III A.' A little girl  had given up her lunch for some hungry person as did the little boy did in today’s gospel.
13.  Born of the virgin Edna..."
There was pastor who used his computer to create a personalized printed program for every Baptism. To make each one special, he'd use the computer's "search & replace" function to find the name of the last baby baptized and then replace it with the next baby's name. So one Saturday evening, the priest told his computer to find the name "Mary," last week's baby, and to replace it with "Edna," the next day's baby. Next morning, everything went smoothly till the congregation reached the Apostles' Creed and found themselves saying, "...And we believe in Jesus Christ, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Edna..." So often our best intentions go awry, and before we get very old, the reality of our personal limitations becomes painfully clear. The Apostles in Sunday's gospel knew their limits only too well, especially when they stood next to Jesus. So when Jesus looked at the crowd of about 20,000 and told the Apostles to feed the people, they were truly abashed.
14.  A poor girl’s donation of “five loaves and two fish”:
A sobbing little girl stood near a small Sunday school building. The pastor asked her why she was crying.  "I can’t get in to the Sunday school," she sobbed. “The teacher said it was too crowded.” Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason. Taking her by the hand, the pastor took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class. The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who had no place to learn about Jesus.
Two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and her  parents  called  for  the  kind-hearted  pastor,  who  had  befriended  their daughter, to handle arrangements for her funeral. As her body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which she might have gotten from some trash dump. Inside was found fifty -seven cents and a note scribbled in a child’s handwriting. It read, "This is my saving to help build our small church and the little Sunday school bigger so that many more children can go to worship God and to learn about Jesus." For two years she had saved for this offering of love.
When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he should do. Carrying this note and the child's purse to the pulpit, he told the story of the poor little girl’s unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his parishioners to raise enough money for a larger church and bigger Sunday school.  A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a realtor who offered them a plot of land worth thousands, for the price of fifty-seven cents -- the amount the little girl had saved. The parishioners made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00, a huge amount at the turn of the last century. Her unselfish, sacrificial love had paid large dividends. 
When you next visit the city of Philadelphia, look for Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300, and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital, and the Sunday school building which houses hundreds of Sunday scholars, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time. In one of the rooms of this building you will see the picture of the sweet face of the little   girl   whose fifty-seven   cents,   so   sacrificially   saved, and   had such   a remarkable history. Alongside is a portrait of her kind pastor, Rev. Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book Acres of Diamonds. In today’s gospel we read the similar story of a boy who sacrificially shared his little lunch with Jesus, thus cooperating with Him in the miraculous feeding of a huge crowd. (Confer for the true story)

Kandhamal girls rescued from Mumbai bondage

From ICAN News
Kandhamal girlsMumbai, July 29, 2014: Nine girls from Odihsa’s riot-hit Khandamal district, who were forced into bounded labor in a Mumbai fish processing firm, were rescued with the help of Catholic nuns and voluntary agencies.
The attempts started July 14 when Holy Spirit Sister Julie of Streevani in Pune called up Bethany Sister Violet in Panvel, Mumbai, and said that some girls who are trafficked from Kandhamal are working in a fishing company at Taloja, Panvel.
The nuns learnt that these girls were not allowed to come out of the company and their agent has taken their salary and escaped.
Sister Violet and a MSFS priest at Taloja visited the factory in person without revealing our identity but the tight security at the gate did not allow them inside.
The nuns said they did not want to inform the police fearing that local police may help the factory owners move the girls to other places over night since trafficking is a big racket in Mumbai city.
They also contacted child helpline but were not satisfied with their directions, Sister Violet said in a note circulated to press. On July 16 they contacted a voluntary organization called Indian Rescue Mission.
The mission team worked out the strategy to raid the factory. On Friday with the help of Panvel Police commissioner and Labor commissioner, the organization members raided the place and found out that there are above 200 girls working and among them 97 are minors.
The four managers are arrested and in Jail and they are in search of the agents who brought these minors to work. The FIR under child labor has been filed against the Managers. The minors are shifted to remand home at Mumbai for further investigation and care of the children.
The 9 girls from Kandhamal received their three months salary that they were deprived of and have been sent back home with two social workers from Kandhamal.
The minors are from Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Delhi Transport Corporation, ex-staffer in 41-year fight over 5-paise loss

DTC in 41-year-long battle over 5-paise loss|
NEW DELHI: Delhi Transport Corporation incurs a loss of about Rs 1,000 crore annually. Its rickety and unreliable fleet is an embarrassment for the capital. Yet, in a bizarre instance of enforcing accountability and making one pay, it has been fighting a case against a former employee for causing it a loss of five paise, 41 years ago! It is anybody's guess how much the corporation has spent from the public exchequer in keeping the man, who is now 70, down.  The man at the receiving end is Ranvir Singh, a conductor, who faced a flying squad of ticket-checkers in 1973 in a bus going towards Mayapuri. The overzealous checkers found that he had charged a woman passenger only 10 paise for a trip when the actual fare was 15 paise. Singh realized the enormity of this lapse when the squad decided that he had cheated the corporation and had been negligent.

A departmental inquiry was conducted and the verdict delivered. Singh was found guilty of causing a loss of 5 paise to the public exchequer and his summary dismissal from service was ordered in 1976 on the grounds that he was a repeat offender.

Singh challenged the DTC decision before a labour court, arguing he had been victimized.

The court ruled in his favour in 1990, directing DTC to reinstate him with full wages. It found the punishment handed out by DTC disproportionate to the "crime".

 But the transport body was unrelenting. Instead of honouring the labour court verdict, it decided to approach the Delhi high court in appeal. It maintained before the HC that no leniency can be shown to an employee who cheats the government of revenue, and urged the court to uphold its probe panel's decision. However, it got no sympathy from the HC which threw out its appeal in 2008, nearly two decades later. While Singh demanded post-retirement benefits and back wages, DTC continued to oppose any relief. After suffering a setback before the HC, the corporation chose to appeal once again, this time by way of a review petition before Justice Hima Kohli.

Arguing that an employee who cheated the government can't be allowed to go scot-free, DTC has in the process spent much more and forced Singh to do the same. It is also challenging Singh's demand for back wages though the latter has got some partial relief. Claiming that Singh's past record contains adverse entries, the corporation has accused him of allowing ticketless travel to several passengers and justified his sacking.

In its latest affidavit filed before Justice Kohli, DTC has indicated its resolve to punish him. Filed through standing counsel Sumeet Pushkarna, the affidavit informs the HC that the corporation stands by its decision to dismiss Singh and won't give him back wages. The HC will take a call on Singh's fate on August 12, when it considers DTC's affidavit and review petition.

Sudaneese Woman - Found the Treasure

Pope blesses woman who was sentenced to death over faith
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms,  in his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican, Thursday, July 24, 2014.   The Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to recant her Christian faith has arrived in Italy along with her family, including the infant born in prison.  Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but whose mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was sentenced to death over charges of apostasy. She married her husband, a Christian, in a church ceremony in 2011.  (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, in his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican. AP

Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman sentenced to death for refusing to denounce her faith in Sudan, met Pope Francis at the Vatican yesterday.

By Josephine McKenna and Philip Sherwell
She arrived in Italy to jubilant scenes following intense international efforts to free her.Ms Ibrahim and her husband, Daniel Wani, personally thanked the pontiff for his support.The Pope, in turn, thanked her for her courage and staying true to her Christian faith throughout her almost year-long ordeal.Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, described the half-hour meeting as "calm and affectionate" and said that the Pope wanted it to be a "gesture of support to all those who suffer for their faith, and living in difficult or restrictive situations".


Pope Francis met the couple at his residence after Ms Ibrahim (27), her husband and their two young children made a surprise arrival at Rome's Ciampino airport early yesterday on an official Italian government aircraft.

She was accompanied by Italy's deputy minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli, who flew to Sudan to collect her late on Wednesday."Today we are happy, this is a day of celebration," Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, said as he greeted Ms Ibrahim.Mr Pistelli first met Ms Ibrahim two weeks ago at the American embassy in Khartoum.She and her family had sought refuge there after a failed attempt to travel to the US following her release from prison, where she had given birth to a daughter, Maya, while shackled two months ago.

The authorities claimed she was travelling on fake documents, an allegation she denied.Mr Pistelli said her passport was only returned on Wednesday afternoon and she was informed she could leave.Elshareef Ali Mohammed, a lawyer for the family, said: "They were so very happy when they knew they would finally be leaving Sudan. It has been incredibly difficult for them all."He said that news of their departure was kept secret from almost everyone in case it impeded their departure."Nobody from the government knew until the plane had taken off, except the minister of foreign affairs. And I expect he told the president," said Mr Elshareef.Believe"We didn't dare believe it was actually going to happen until the plane took off."

Ms Ibrahim disembarked from the plane carrying Maya in her arms accompanied by her son Martin, 18 months, and her husband, who has US citizenship. They are expected to travel to his home in New Hampshire in the coming days.She was sentenced to hang for refusing to renounce Christianity after her Muslim father claimed she had abandoned Islam and committed adultery with her Christian husband. Mixed-faith marriages are not recognised in Sudanese courts.Ms Ibrahim insisted that she was raised a Christian by her Ethiopian Orthodox mother after her father left them when she was a young child.The case drew international outrage and the death sentence was overturned last month.Sudan's ambassador to Rome, Amira Daoud Hassan Gornass, said Khartoum had agreed to Ms Ibrahim's departure with her Sudanese passport "after all the accusations against her were withdrawn". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent -


On a flight from Johannesburg, a middle-aged, well-off white South African Lady had found herself sitting next to an African man. She called the cabin crew attendant over to complain about her seating. “What seems to be the problem Madam?” asked the attendant.
“Can’t you see?” she said. “You’ve sat me next to a kaffir. I can’t possibly sit next to this disgusting human. Find me another seat!” “Please calm down Madam.” the stewardess replied. “The flight is very full today, but I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll go and check to see if we have any seats available in club or first class.” The woman cocks a snooty look at the outraged black man beside her (not to mention at many of the surrounding passengers also).
A few minutes later the stewardess returns with the good news, which she delivers to the lady, who cannot help but look at the people around her with a smug and self satisfied grin: “Madam, unfortunately, as I suspected, economy is full. I’ve spoken to the cabin services director, and club is also full. However, we do have one seat in first class”.
Before the lady had a chance to answer, the stewardess continued, “It is most extraordinary to make this kind of upgrade, however, and I had to get special permission from the captain. But, given the circumstances, the captain felt that it was outrageous that someone be forced to sit next to such an obnoxious person.” With which, she turned to the African man sitting next to her, and said: “So if you’d like to get your things, Sir, I have your seat ready for you in first class up at the front...” At which point, apparently the surrounding passengers stood and gave a standing ovation while the African guy walks up to first class in the front of the plane.

(Unfortunately I do not know the source of this story by Fr. Tommy Lane)


To prevent us and others from seeing the truth about ourselves the ego has to be fast on its feet – like a vampire. How often does the poor heroine, confronted by the vampire, turn around to run away only to find him once again standing before her? My ego is that fast! Everywhere I turn I find – myself – me, me, me. It’s all about – me.
Naturally, the arch-enemy of the ego is humility. If ego is all about me; humility is all about you. Ego takes the highest place at the table; humility surrenders it to you. Ego invites rich neighbours to its feasts in the hope that it will be repaid; humility invites the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind because it seeks only the good of the other without thinking of itself. Humility embraces the truth; it embraces reality – the ego is a lie, it is, like the vampire, already dead.

For the Christian to live in humility it must find a way to disarm the ego, to strip it of its power, to uncover and recognise its lies. For most of us this is the task of a life time. It is almost a definition of the Christian struggle though it must take into account that without the grace of God the struggle would be too much.

Humility is opposed to a pride that shows no respect for others, but tends to dominate, to exercise power for its own sake, to be unconcerned for the rights of others. It is a virtue which sees service of others as the meaning of authority. (Fr. John Speekman)

Did you hear about the minister who said he had a wonderful sermon on humility but was waiting for a large crowd before preaching it?
1.     A young man in a Train

A young man entered the coach of a train in a small university town in France. The ink was scarcely dry on his newly acquired diploma. 

As the train sped off for Paris, he took his seat in the rear of the coach near an elderly gentleman who seemed to be dozing. As the train suddenly lurched, a string of rosary beads fell from his hand. The young man picked up the rosary and handed it to the elderly gentleman with the remark, "I presume you are praying, sir?"

"You are right. I was praying." 
"I am surprised," said the young fellow, "that in this day and age there is someone who is still so benighted and superstitious. Our professors at the university do not believe in such things," and he proceeded to "enlighten" his elderly fellow-passenger.

The old man expressed surprise and amazement.

"Yes," continued the young man, "today enlightened people don't believe in such nonsense."
"You don't say!" replied the old man.
"Yes, sir, and if you wish, I can send you some illuminating books."
"Very well," said the old man, preparing to leave as the train came to a stop. "You may send them to this address." He handed the young man a card, which read:

Louis Pasteur
Director of the Institute of Scientific Research

2.     A real Pane! 

Somebody was called in to substitute the famous Billy Graham at the last minute. He was aware of the awesome responsibility of substituting such a man. As he sat in this huge church pondering he looked up and noticed the beautiful stain glass windows and a little piece of cardboard stuck in where a piece had broken. So in his sermon he compared himself with that piece of cardboard to fill in. 

After the service, as he shook hand with the members, a woman came to him and said, “Preacher, I just wanted you to know that you were not the cardboard. You were a real pane!”
3.     The funeral of Charlemagne 

I like the story historians tell about the funeral of Charlemagne. Charlemagne was the greatest Christian ruler of the early Middle Ages. After his death a mighty funeral procession left his castle for the cathedral at Aix. When the royal casket arrived, with a lot of pomp and circumstance, it was met by the local bishop, who barred the cathedral door. 

"Who comes?" the Bishop asked, as was the custom.
"Charlemagne, Lord and King of the Holy Roman Empire," proclaimed the Emperor's proud herald.
"Him I know not," the Bishop replied. "Who comes?"
The herald, a bit shaken, replied, "Charles the Great, a good and honest man of the earth."
"Him I know not," the Bishop said again. "Who comes?"
The herald, now completely crushed, responded, "Charles, a lowly sinner, who begs the gift of Christ."  

To which the Bishop, Christ's representative, responded, "Enter! Receive Christ's gift of life!" 

The point, of course, is that in God's eyes, we're all equally needy. Charlemagne, Mother Teresa, you and me. None of us will ever be "good enough" to force entrance into the presence of God.  

Alex Gondola, Jr., Come As You Are, CSS Publishing Company
4.     Professor Washington

A truly humble man is hard to find, yet God delights to honor such selfless people. Booker T. Washington, the renowned black educator, was an outstanding example of this truth. Shortly after he took over the presidency of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he was walking in an exclusive section of town when he was stopped by a wealthy white woman. Not knowing the famous Mr. Washington by sight, she asked if he would like to earn a few dollars by chopping wood for her. Because he had no pressing business at the moment, Professor Washington smiled, rolled up his sleeves, and proceeded to do the humble chore she had requested. When he was finished, he carried the logs into the house and stacked them by the fireplace. A little girl recognized him and later revealed his identity to the lady.  

The next morning the embarrassed woman went to see Mr. Washington in his office at the Institute and apologized profusely. "It's perfectly all right, Madam," he replied. "Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor. Besides, it's always a delight to do something for a friend." She shook his hand warmly and assured him that his meek and gracious attitude had endeared him and his work to her heart. Not long afterward she showed her admiration by persuading some wealthy acquaintances to join her in donating thousands of dollars to the Tuskegee Institute. 
Our Daily Bread.
5.     Inventor Samuel Morse

Wakefield tells the story of the famous inventor Samuel Morse who was once asked if he ever encountered situations where he didn't know what to do. Morse responded, "More than once, and whenever I could not see my way clearly, I knelt down and prayed to God for light and understanding." 
Morse received many honors from his invention of the telegraph but felt undeserving: "I have made a valuable application of electricity not because I was superior to other men but solely because God, who meant it for mankind, must reveal it to someone and He was pleased to reveal it to me." 

 Tim Hansel, Eating Problems for Breakfast, Word Publishing, 1988, pp. 33-34.
6.     The humble man feels no jealousy

It was John Riskin who said, "I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a ... feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them." Andrew Murray said, "The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised while he is forgotten because ... he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and who sought not His own honor. Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility." M.R. De Haan used to say, "Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have."
7.     Henry Augustus Rowland,

professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University, was once called as an expert witness at a trial. During cross-examination a lawyer demanded, "What are your qualifications as an expert witness in this case?" 

The normally modest and retiring professor replied quietly, "I am the greatest living expert on the subject under discussion." Later a friend well acquainted with Rowland's disposition expressed surprise at the professor's uncharacteristic answer. Rowland answered, "Well, what did you expect me to do? I was under oath."

Today in the Word, August 5, 1993.
I am the least of the apostles. 1 Corinthians 15:9
I am the very least of all the saints. Ephesians 3:8
I am the foremost of sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15
In my weakness is my strength: 2 Cor 12/7-9
Poor windows copper coins
Lowly handmaiden
We'll receive the blows, Gandhi, and humiliate them
Weakness/inability/disability of the called in the Bible

Be humble or you'll stumble. D.L. Moody.
Never be haughty to the humble. Never be humble to the haughty.  Jefferson Davis.
 when Mahatma Gandhi once went to meet the King of Britain in a simple loincloth, a reporter asked him if he felt underdressed. Gandhi replied, “The King wears enough clothes for both of us.”
Mother Teresa was once asked, "How do you measure the success of your work?" She thought about the question and gave her interviewer a puzzled look, and said, "I don't remember that the Lord ever spoke of success. He spoke only of faithfulness in love. This is the only success that really counts."
8.     A young American student

On a visit to the Beethoven museum in Bonn, a young American student became fascinated by the piano on which Beethoven had composed some of his greatest works. She asked the museum guard if she could play a few bars on it; she accompanied the request with a lavish tip, and the guard agreed. The girl went to the piano and tinkled out the opening of the Moonlight Sonata. As she was leaving she said to the guard, "I suppose all the great pianist who come here want to play on that piano."

The guard shook his head. "Padarewski [the famed Polish pianist] was here a few years ago and he said he wasn't worthy to touch it." 

Source Unknown
9.     President Lincoln

Lincoln once got caught up in a situation where he wanted to please a politician, so he issued a command to transfer certain regiments. When the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, received the order, he refused to carry it out. He said that the President was a fool. Lincoln was told what Stanton had said, and he replied, "If Stanton said I'm a fool, then I must be, for he is nearly always right. I'll see for myself." As the two men talked, the President quickly realized that his decision was a serious mistake, and without hesitation he withdrew it. 

Source Unknown.
10.  George Washington Carver,

the scientist who developed hundreds of useful products from the peanut: "When I was young, I said to God, 'God, tell me the mystery of the universe.' But God answered, 'That knowledge is reserved for me alone.' So I said, 'God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.' Then God said, 'Well, George, that's more nearly your size.' And he told me."  (Adapted from Rackham Holt,  George Washington Carver.)

George Washington Carver was an African-American scientist who did some pioneering work on the lowly peanut. In January 1921, he was called before the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives to explain his work. He expected such a high-level committee to handle the business at hand with him and those who had come with him with dignity and proper decorum. He was shocked when the speakers who preceded him were treated very rudely. As an African-American, he was the last one on the list, and so after three days of waiting, he finally got to make his presentation. He was shocked when he noticed one of the members with his hat on and feet on the table. When the Chairman asked him to take off his hat, the member said out loud, "Down where I come from, we don't accept a black man's testimony. And furthermore, I don't see what this fellow can say that would have any bearing on the work of this committee." At this point, George was ready to turn around and go home, but he said to himself, as he wrote in his autobiography, "Whatever they said of me, I knew that I was a child of God, and so I prayed 'Almighty God, let me carry out your will'". He got to the podium and was told that he had 20 minutes to speak. Well, his presentation was so engaging that he was granted several extensions until he had spoken for several hours. At the end of his talk, everyone on the committee stood and applauded him. (“More Telling Stories, Compelling Stories” by William J. Bausch).

11.  Sadhu Sundar Singh

When I saw Sadhu Sundar Singh in Europe, he had completed a tour around the world. People asked him, Doesn't it do harm, your getting so much honor?" The Sadhu's answer was: "No. The donkey went into Jerusalem, and they put garments on the ground before him. He was not proud. He knew it was not done to honor him, but for Jesus, who was sitting on his back. When people honor me, I know it is not me, but the Lord, who does the job."  

 Corrie Ten Boom,  Each New Day.
12. Pope Francis

Pope Francis recently demonstrated and defined the practice of humility.  He defined it not by his words.  He defined it by his actions.
After his election to the papacy, he turned down the Vatican limousine ride, instead taking the mini-bus back over to the hotel with his brother Cardinals.  At the hotel, he gathered his luggage, thanked each member of the staff, and paid his own bill.  He did not pass off these seemingly meaningless tasks to a papal aide. It was not as if he had nothing to do.
Francis, this humble servant of the Lord, remained Francis, humble servant of the Lord, even after being elected head of the Roman Catholic Church.  His humility was not so much a series of individual actions or practices as it was a way of life for him, as a Jesuit priest, archbishop, cardinal, and pope.
Humility and a passion for praise are a pair of characteristics which together indicate growth in grace. The Bible is full of self-humbling (man bowing down before God) and doxology (man giving praise to God). The healthy heart is one that bows down in humility and rises in praise and adoration. The Psalms strike both these notes again and again. So too, Paul in his letters both articulates humility and breaks into doxology. Look at his three descriptions of himself quoted above, dating respectively from around A.D. 59, 63, and 64. As the years pass he goes lower; he grows downward! And as his self-esteem sinks, so his rapture of praise and adoration for the God who so wonderfully saved him rises.

Undoubtedly, learning to praise God at all times for all that is good is a mark that we are growing in grace. One of my predecessors in my first parochial appointment died exceedingly painfully of cancer. But between fearful bouts of agony, in which he had to stuff his mouth with bedclothes to avoid biting his tongue, he would say aloud over and over again: "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Ps. 34:1). That was a passion for praise asserting itself in the most poignant extremity imaginable. 

Cultivate humility and a passion for praise if you want to grow in grace.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.
"Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. I means freedom from thinking about yourself one way or the other at all." William Temple, "Christ in His Church"

At a reception honoring musician Sir Robert Mayer on his 100th birthday, elderly British socialite Lady Diana Cooper fell into conversation with a friendly woman who seemed to know her well. Lady Diana's failing eyesight prevented her from recognizing her fellow guest, until she peered more closely at the magnificent diamonds and realized she was talking to Queen Elizabeth! Overcome with embarrassment, Lady Diana curtsied and stammered, "Ma'am, oh, ma'am, I'm sorry ma'am. I didn't recognize you without your crown!" 

"It was so much Sir Robert's evening," the queen replied, "that I decided to leave it behind."  

 Today in the Word, April 3, 1992.
Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is for me to have no trouble; never to be fretted or vexed or irritated or sore or disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace as in a deep sea of calmness when all around is trouble. It is the fruit of the Lord Jesus Christ's redemptive work on Calvary's cross, manifested in those of His own who are definitely subject to the Holy Spirit.

 Andrew Murray.
From Fr. Tony Kadavil's Collection:

1) Cardinal Léger's option for the poor: 
Most Rev. Paul-Émile Léger served as Archbishop of Montreal from 1950 to 1968, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1953 by Pope Pius XII. He was   one of the most powerful men in Canada and within the Catholic Church. He was a man of deep conviction and humility. Then on April 20, 1968 he resigned his office and leaving his red vestments, crosier, miter, and pallium in his Montreal office, disappeared. Years later, he was found living among the lepers and disabled, outcasts of a small African village. When a Canadian journalist asked him, "Why? " here is what Cardinal Léger had to say, "It will be the great scandal of the history of our century that 600 million people are eating well and living luxuriously and three billion people starve, and every year millions of children are dying of hunger. I am too old to change all that. The only thing I can do which makes sense is to be present. I must simply be in the midst of them. So, just tell people in Canada that you met an old priest. I am a priest who is happy to be old and still a priest and among those who suffer. I am happy to be here and to take them into my heart." ( Barry Robinson,) Is that your calling? Is it mine? Probably not. Today’s gospel says:  “Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." 

2) The humble Gandhi:
One man who took Jesus seriously was Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi acknowledged that he had been much influenced by the Gospels and touched by the life of Christ. As he once remarked, "I might have become a Christian had it not been for Christians!" Gandhi did not lead the masses by standing like a monarch above them but by identifying with them and sharing in their circumstances. He identified himself with the half-naked rural masses by rejecting his attorney’s pants and coat and dressing himself with a loin cloth and cotton shawl.  While the other high caste Indian politicians were not willing to associate themselves with the untouchables, Gandhi chose to live, eat and march with the untouchables, and he gave them a new dignity and a new name. He honored them by calling them HARIJANS, "the people of God."

3) America's "First Lady of Etiquette," Emily Post, versus Jesus Christ:
Luke 14 focuses on etiquette for guests and hosts at dinner parties. I thought I should see what the original "Miss Manners," Emily Post, had to say on that subject. So I did consult the twelfth edition of Emily Post's Etiquette. I learned to kneel, kiss his ring, and address him as "Your Holiness" when having a private audience with the Pope. I learned replies to lunch invitations to the White House must always be handwritten and always returned that same day -- and the answer is always, "Yes." Emily Post was very specific about planning formal dinners. Seating charts were included showing which seats the guests of honor should get. Who's seated next to whom is also important. Emily Post sums it up: "The requisites for a perfect formal dinner ... are ... Guests who are congenial, Servants who are competent, A lovely table setting -- Food that is perfectly prepared ... A cordial and hospitable host and a charming hostess" (and a good seating chart). And there is another source we can turn to on how to throw a perfect party. The source is Scripture. And the "etiquette expert" is Jesus himself. In today’s gospel, Jesus gives guidance on party protocol while attending a formal dinner. When God is throwing a party, all the "right" people will be there -- that is everyone who responds to (God's) invitation.  But seated next to the host (Jesus) in the places of honor are not the dignitaries, the celebrities, the distinguished people of position and prominence, but rather the poor, the hurting, the outcast -- people who have distinguished themselves only by their need.