July 10, 2021
Have you ever arrived somewhere totally unprepared? I did. It was the time that we became "snowed in" at the General Store in East Arcade. Our aunt and my mother were bringing five of us kids to spend an overnight in East Arcade. It was in November and as we drove, the first snow of the season began to fall. For us kids, it could not come soon enough! Eve my aunt who was driving was enjoying the snow, but as it came down harder, she became concerned. And her concern increased when we arrived at the cottage and the kerosene furnace would not light. The snow came down heavier than ever as night fell, and the cottage was growing colder by the minute. None of us were prepared for this. We had packed just enough food and clothes for an overnight. We did not have a backup source of heating for the cottage. My Aunt Gloria always had great faith, and despite our not being prepared, she prayed. We all did.
We were excited to notice that there was smoke coming from the chimney of the General Store up the hill. The store had been closed for years, and its elderly owner, "Mr. Al," lived there alone. All of us kids liked him and his gentle way. And that cold evening he invited the seven of us into his home. We soon found that he was prepared for as many days as we would need. He served us hot chocolate and marshmallows and then a delicious dinner with ice cream for dessert! He had a place for each of us to sleep with plenty of pillows and fresh sheets.
It was days before the roads were clear enough for us to drive home. I learned that weekend that even though not perfectly prepared, God looks after us, often through others. Looking back now I realize that Mr. Al, living all alone, was probably filled with joy by being able to help us. For that weekend, his house became the bustling center of love and activity it was when his own family's voices filled its rooms, many years ago.
In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus is sending his apostles on journeys to spread his message. He tells them to bring nothing but a walking stick when they travel. Not even food or money! That is what made me think of that wonderful weekend at the General Store. Jesus wanted them to trust in God, to give others the opportunity to help them, and to find success in spreading his message of love.
Think about it this way: As the apostles arrived in a town, they might teach for a few hours. By dinner time, someone from the town might ask them, "what are your plans for dinner," and the apostles would readily said yes. After dinner, the family might invite them to spend the night. Now that family inviting the apostles to dinner become more than simply listeners of the message of Jesus. They actually become part of the message! By helping the apostles, they would be participating in spreading the message of Jesus, not just hearing it. They become invested in the apostles and the good work they were doing. If the apostles had brought plenty of money, who knows, maybe they would have turned down the invitation to dinner and went to McDonalds. They would have missed that opportunity of bringing others into their work of spreading the message of Jesus.
That method, relying on God and enlisting the help of those around them, worked well for the apostles. After all, this was how their message found its way to you and I. This week, let us think about bringing Jesus' message of love to others. Consider letting others help you, allowing them to become more involved in the work. Even if we do not feel fully prepared!