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The Scripture readings of this past Sunday, the 17thin Ordinary Time, remind us of the abundance of God’s love and compassion and of the importance of sharing ourselves and our gifts for the good of the whole. In both the Old Testament reading from Kings and the Gospel from John, individuals step forward with their meager offerings of bread and fish to help feed the masses. The gifts are received and transformed, not simply into enough, but into abundance!

These ancient texts serve to remind us that God’s love, mercy and compassion are without limit or boundary. God cares for each and all, regardless of gender, age, race, economic standing, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. God loves us all, desires our good, and provides for our every need. And God invites us to do the same.

As the readings so clearly demonstrate, sometimes God’s providence is shown or offered through the kindness and generosity of … human beings. God works through us. God uses us and our gifts and resources to meet others’ needs -- to feed the hungry, to companion the lonely, to encourage the doubtful, to welcome the stranger and to care for the infirm. Our service requires no special training or certification. All it demands or invites is an open and spacious heart that recognizes need and is willing to respond with offerings of care and compassion to nourish the “hungry” among us. And often, our limited offerings, given in love and care, can mean abundance to the other.

God cares; an individual shares; and all are fed. Simple gifts shared and transformed into abundance. Oh, that all of our problems could be solved so easily … and miraculously.

Susan Bremer, OSU