All of the readings today are about expressions of God’s overflowing abundance.
In his book Let Us Dream: A Path to a Better Future, Pope Francis reminds us that that the Greek word perisseuo – which means “overflow” is often used in reference to God or actions of God.
And the images of today’s readings are literally “overflowing” with the promise of abundance from God.
After a difficult time in their history, Isaiah promises the people of Israel that God is offering them overflowing abundance of the land, an opportunity to rebuild after a period of desolation. God promises that they won’t be able to keep up with it all – even the mountains will drip with the vintage of the grapes! And the psalm promises that just like the land, justice and righteousness will mark God’s new promised era of peace.
Finally, in the Gospel Jesus reminds the disciples of John that when God is present and active and fulfilling that very promise of abundance is not the time to fast. Christ is God’s fulfillment of that promise of abiding presence.
The challenge for us is that we too often approach life from the perspective of scarcity. We presume there isn’t enough of God’s abundance for all. When we act out of that mindset, either in our spiritual lives or in the world around us – we start to think that we have to protect, defend and acquire as much as possible. We become fearful that there won’t be enough for ourselves. We become self centered and forget that God’s desire is for all to share in that rich abundance – the rich abundance of grace which is inexhaustible, and in the gifts of the earth, with which we must live in a life-giving balance, as Pope Francis also reminds us in his encyclical Laudato Si.
This is why we are often surprised when God blesses our lives abundantly and might even resist it! Its like we aren’t ready for it – like those folks in Jesus’ parable who tried to pour new wine into old wineskin vessels. Sometimes we have older ways of thinking about things – ways that emphasize scarcity and limit – as if God was somehow as limited as we are! Instead, we should remember the “old wine” and the old wineskins – all the times in our past when God has abundantly blessed us – and recognize that God wants to do so again and again – in “new wine” and “new wineskins.”
When we can do that, in our prayer and in our lives, we will always remember God’s abundance in our lives, and our response will not be fear of not having enough, but thanksgiving.
Each time we participate in the Eucharist, we give thanks together for the Father’s abundance in Christ and pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to overflow in our life as believers and together as a Church. The awareness of God’s abundance in the Eucharist and in our lives can revive us when we most need it. Let us pray that we will be able to see with God’s eyes the abundance given all around us.
God give you peace!