In the readings for Sunday, July 29, we’re reminded that God’s grace is extravagant and never a waste.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
2 Kings 4:42-44
“For thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'”
The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
I … urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience …
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
God always gives us more than we need. Today’s Scriptures tell us two stories about God giving people more food than they needed. The first reading is the story of the Prophet Elisha feeding 100 people with only 20 barley loaves. The reading from Mark tells us about Jesus’ way bigger feeding of the 5,000 men with only five barley loaves and two fish.
In both stories there were leftovers — in Jesus’ story it was 12 baskets full. This means that Jesus was going to pass his ministry on to the Twelve Apostles and then to us. It also means that when we do serve others, we’ll have everything we need and then some to get the job done! God gives us every good thing, and never feels like any gift he give us is a waste — even when we’re not grateful (you’ll see more of that in the coming weeks).
Paul ties it all up nicely in the second reading: He says for us to “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit. …” The call we received is to be like Christ. The way to live it worthily is to take the gifts God gives us and share them. People will recognize God in us when we meet their needs. And, as Jesus says, when we combine our efforts together with God’s grace, nothing will be wasted.
Do you ever waste anything? Do you get in trouble for it? Why?
Do you feel like God has given you everything you need to represent him in your world? If not, what is lacking? If so, what is your greatest asset?
How have I experienced God’s extravagant, overflowing gifts? How do I use them to feed others?
Choose someone to feed this week. Donate to a pantry, work in a soup kitchen, invite someone to dinner (especially someone who’s lonely), share a snack, etc. Or challenge your family to waste nothing this week. Keep track of what foods are wasted (thrown out for any reason), and tally it up at the end of the week. When you’re done, discuss what this could mean for your family and for people who go hungry.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”