Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
A week ago, the youth minister at Ursuline organized an activity entitled “The Hunger Banquet”. It was a lesson for learning.
Approximately one hundred students took part in the activity. The first thing the youth minister did was bring them into a small room. It was barely big enough to fit everyone. She then divided the kids into three groups or three “worlds”: First World, Second World and Third World. The first group represented people living in the First World. Now although there were just a few students in this group, they had the largest portion of the room allocated to them. She then divided the rest of the students into the remaining worlds with the “Third World” having the greatest number of students with the smallest amount of space available.
Once this was accomplished, lunch was served.
The students in the First World received expensive food and plenty of food to go around. The Third World students received plain rice, bread and water, and there was not much to go around.
Thus the lesson began.
To the youth minister’s surprise, the students in the First World were silent, staring at the rest of the world while the Third World students were sharing what they had and laughing and smiling. The fact of the matter is, they were having a good time because they were grateful for what they had and were sharing what they had. The rest of the world appeared to be miserable, constantly eyeing the others. Like a middle child, the Second World students complained a lot about everything.
I liked this lesson because the lesson learned was not what anybody expected.
With regards to food. While the First World students may appear to be more “blessed” than others, we know that this “blessing” has led to enormous health problems in America. Teen obesity and diabetes are at an all time high. Some call it a national crisis or epidemic. And let’s not forget all the eating disorders that are like “the plague” to so many of our “most-well-off” kids. Who would have predicted that these things would be happening today, especially with so much food to go around? But the results are what they are, and the consequences of what we seek, do and have are not always what we expected. The same holds true for other issues such as abortion, divorce and living together.
With regards to people. Having a lot of people around us isn’t always such a bad thing. Having them close by isn’t either. Sometimes too much space between us makes us forget about each other. I for one don’t even know most of my neighbors. As soon as I step out, they step back in! And maybe, just maybe, when people are out of sight, they are also out of mind.
The Lord sent His disciples out to meet and greet the people; to get to know people, their problems and their concerns. They were not politicians. They were priests. What they received is what they needed. What they gave is what we all need: love, truth, and life. The essentials.