A fun-loving man was throwing a big party. He wanted to create a special wine for the party, so he invited each guest to bring a small flask of wine to mix with the flasks of wine of the other guests. On the night of the party, each person brought a flask of water instead of wine, thinking that nobody would notice. When the time came to serve the wine, rather than getting a glass of wine, everyone received a glass of water. There was no wine at all because every person thought their little flask would not matter.
Given the magnitude of the world’s problems these days, we can feel helpless to do anything because we see ourselves as only one small and insignificant person. In the Gospel, Jesus helps us to see how we indeed can make a difference. He tells us to be poor, to be hungry, to weep and to be insulted (Luke 6:17-26). At first, this solution does not sound very appealing. What Jesus is ultimately saying is the way to make a difference in our lives and in the world is to make connections.
Jesus invites us to connect with God more profoundly by acknowledging our complete poverty without him. He beckons us to connect with others by our willingness to be hungry with those who are hungry, to weep with those who weep, to be insulted with those who are insulted. After all, God chose to connect with us by becoming one of us, a human person who himself knew poverty, hunger, pain and rejection.
Making connections begins by asking ourselves where there is disconnection in our lives. Perhaps there is a disconnection in our relationship with our spouse, our children, or a friend. Maybe we are disconnected from the larger world by tuning out what is really going on out there, not wanting to pay attention because it is too troubling. Maybe we are disconnected from the truth by denying a problem or resisting making a change that will help us to be better.
Like the people in the story who thought their little flasks of wine were not needed, our lives can seem insignificant. Not so. Our lives connected to God and each other are absolutely needed. Now is the time to make those connections.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher H. Smith