One of my colleagues recently brought the following "campaign" to my attention:
While I'm not really excited about the theology that says that God actively controls all aspects of our lives and therefore allows, or worse, causes calamities to occur, that sense of being thankful for our blessings and learning and growing from our difficulties is an excellent reminder!
I'm in the process of mulling over the lessons appointed for next Sunday, July 31 (Fr. Lawrence Robles of Santa Maria Urban Ministry will be preaching this coming Sunday). The Gospel lesson is the generally well-known story of the Feeding of the Multitudes (4,000, 5,000, whatever...). Of the many lessons to be gleaned from this story, perhaps the most powerful one is that when we offer all that we have to God, for God's use, God will give us the resources to accomplish God's purposes. This is no "prosperity Gospel" that says that if you "invest in God" you will reap monetary rewards. Rather it encourages us not to be discouraged at what may seem meager resources in the face of so much need. Rather, God takes, blesses, breaks, and gives all that we offer, and more, back to us for accomplishing God's will in the world.
This is a hard lesson to learn in an era of tight budgets and a climate of fear and scarcity. It is hard to focus on God's abundance in the face of a deficit budget. Yet the command Jesus addresses to his disciples continues to be addressed to us: "Bring them here to me." Bring what you have, ask that it be blessed, and use it to feed the world.