Reflection for Tuesday, February 15, 2022: 6th Week of Ordinary Time.

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Lenz, Tom
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|Reading  Mark's Gospel today reminds me of something I did when I was a young boy, and still tend to show similar behavior now as an adult. When I was growing up we lived in a small rural town. Like most kids then and now my brother and I would go trick-or-treating on Halloween every October. I loved that day because our town was small enough to cover a good deal of the houses, and not just in my neighborhood, but in a large part of the town. At around age 12, my brother and I thought it would be a good idea to get rid of the small bags we carried as kids to collect our candy and replace it with a pillowcase. We saw others do this the year prior and thought it was a brilliant way to carry more candy and not spill it from our small bags of years prior. Our plan worked perfectly and we used this strategy for the next few years until we grew too old to trick-or-treat any longer. I remember bringing home pillow cases nearly full of candy during those years and have very fond memories of Halloween.|What Mark's Gospel reminds me of, however, is not collecting of candy on Halloween night, but what I did with it afterwards. Candy was rather scarce in our house so I devised a plan to make is last for as long as I could. I would stash the candy in my dresser drawer and eat just a little at a time so it would last for weeks, even months. I didn't want it to run out because I looked at it as a finite and unrefillable supply. To make it worse, I even remember one year trying to make it last until Easter so then I could replenish my candy stash with that from the Easter Bunny. I, of course, thought it was a genius plan but the candy turned old and hard and eventually didn't taste very good anyway. My brother, on the other hand, was just the opposite. He ate his candy without regard to its finality.|In the Gospel reading today we hear Jesus trying to teach his disciples a very important message, they he repeats on several occasions throughout his life. The lesson is one of abundance versus scarcity. Jesus is trying to tell them that God works from a stance of abundance, while our human tendency is to only see the scarcity of life. The leaven that he speaks of from the Pharisees and Herod is like the Halloween candy in my pillowcase. If we are looking to earthly matter for sustenance, we will always go hungry because it is a finite supply and will eventually run out. But God has a whole different operating system. Scarcity is not even a consideration – only abundance.|As an adult, I sometimes catch myself leaning towards these behaviors of scarcity out of the same fear I had that my candy was eventually going to run out. I am afraid that I will not have enough time to do the things I think are important, I am afraid that I am not doing enough to help at work or home, I am afraid that I do not have enough money, I am afraid that if I do something wrong people will not like me, I am afraid that if I do not pay attention to my health that I will get sick, I am afraid of the unknown, and on and on. These are the realities of our humanity, and yes we need to attend to them. But, making decisions and living based on fear of "not having enough" is exactly what Jesus is telling us not to do. There will always be "enough" to sustain us if we can get past our way of seeing that only focuses on the limitations of life. God is abundance and we just need to use our "eyes to see" and our "ears to hear" and we will also know.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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