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The Lord said to the disciples, “Gather up the crumbs.” Why crumbs? God can do a lot with crumbs.
Jesus told the parable of the rich man who ate sumptuously, and he didn’t give poor Lazarus anything to eat. Later, the rich man died and was tortured in flames. Naturally, when we hear the unfortunate state of the rich man, we all want to know why he didn’t’ give Lazarus any food when he had the chance. All the poor man wanted was the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. So why didn’t he help him? Did the rich man have to re-mortgage his house, sell his yacht, or take a week off from work to help the guy? Did he have to sell off his company or give up his education? If the rich man were able to come back and to give us advice, he would tell us that it doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life or to do something important. Sometimes it is just the crumbs that fall from your table. Make sure we make use of our scraps. So our faith question today is: What do we do with the scraps that fall from our table?
The Syro-Phoenician woman asked Jesus to cast a demon from her daughter who was tormented. Jesus said it was not right to take the food of children and throw it to the dogs. The woman responded, “I’ll take the crumbs that fall from the table. Kids never finish all their food.” Why did the woman say that? Why settle for crumbs? Because she knew that God can do a lot with crumbs.
Mother Theresa once said to God, “I want to help the poor in Calcutta.” Calcutta?! You better have a degree from an Ivy League school to take on the poor of Calcutta. You better have a lot of money to take on Calcutta. You better have political connections to take on Calcutta. So God asked Mother Theresa, “What do you have to take on Calcutta?” She said, “I do not have a lot of education and do not have any money and my health is fragile, but I can say the rosary, and I know how to hold babies.” God said to her, “I can use that.” And Mother Theresa took on Calcutta.
One late afternoon I decided to run out to Winthrop to fly fish. It is usually hit or miss, but that day I noticed that a fish jumped, then another. There were hundreds of fish right in front of me. I immediately called my friend Jack, who lives just up the street. Jack is an internationally known fly tier, and he would appreciate having such a phone call. Within a few moments, he was fishing with me. We were standing together. I had a good size fish on, and I put a little too much pressure on the line. I got a little too excited and snapped him off. I reached in my fly fishing vest for my box of flies and nothing. I must have forgotten to return the box to my vest when I restocked it. I stood there blankly looking out over the blue yonder. My friend asked, “What’s the matter?” I said, “I just lost my last good fly.” Jack came over to me and pulled out his fly box. When he opened the box, a fly fell out of the box on to the ground because the box was jammed with flies. Remember, he is a fly tier. After it fell I picked it off the ground, and he said, “just keep it.” I looked at the fly, and you could tell it was used. The feathers were all mangled, dry seaweed stuck on it, and it looked like it had seen better days. I have to tell you it was one of the best fishing days of my life. Now if you were to ask my fly tying friend the question, “What did you do today that would be considered great?” I am sure he would never admit that he gave me one of his beaten-up flies that fell out of his box. He would tell you that he wrote another chapter in his book, that he tied flies for a special gift box and sent it to a customer, or that he paid the rent. But if you rephrased the question, “What did you do with the” crumbs” that fell from your table?” he would probably say, “I just made somebody’s day. He had the best fishing day of his life.” It doesn’t take much to make a difference for someone.
I may say to God, “Why didn’t you give me a smarter brain? Oh, what I could do I you just let me win the Powerball one time. Why did you let my hair fall out? Why didn’t you give me a better body? Why did you give me just crumbs? We know the answer. God can do a lot with crumbs. As the rich man would now say: it doesn’t take much to make a big difference to someone. So, what do you do with the crumbs that fall from your table?Back to All Homilies