TODAY’S SPECIAL: LEFTOVERS
Whenever I return from a long journey or a strenuous outdoor activity, my go-to recovery pack is a nice hot shower followed by a good home-cooked meal. I remember this one time when I arrived home to my parents after an extremely long flight. It landed at an odd hour in the morning and so the only thing my mother could offer me to eat were the leftovers from the previous night. Turns out, a close friend and her family had come home for dinner the previous evening for which mum had cooked an absolutely sumptuous meal. This meant the leftovers I got to eat were exactly what my hungry tummy was longing for. All I can say is that I’ve never been so content feasting on leftovers.
None Shall Be Lost
A few weeks ago, the Gospel reading at Mass was from the Gospel of John – a familiar passage where Jesus feeds a crowd of five thousand people and more. After the crowds had eaten, Jesus said to his disciples, “….Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” (John 6:12) During his homily, the priest followed up on this verse with a message that stayed with me as I walked out of Church that day. He highlighted how Jesus did not allow for any food to be wasted; and if He could do so for something consumable, how much more would He care for every life He himself has created.
Not one life that was created was ever meant to be wasted!
Think about it! So many organizations all across the world work towards reducing food wastage, but what about lives that we so easily dump off as waste? This is clearly reflected in the increasing rate of abortions today. Think about relationships that only exist on a use and throw basis – friendships that can be added and removed by the touch of a button – economies wherein educated professionals are willing to do any kind of work in order to secure a steady job. Pope Francis, in one of his recent homilies condemned exactly this sort of ‘throw-away culture’ of our times.
Made To Serve
Have you ever felt like a leftover at some point in your life? Is there someone who always seems to be better than you? Whether it is beauty, riches or relationships, doesn’t it sometimes feel like everyone but you has got it? Among young people especially, it is common to hear scores of youth who see themselves as rejects and outcasts in schools, colleges, workplaces and even so alarmingly, in their own homes.
What we painfully fail to grasp or perhaps too casually shun aside is that we are created by a God who never intended to leave our side, let alone see us as a ‘leftover’.
Food is never cooked with an intention to set it aside as scraps. Yes, it may be common to find a lot of wastage at buffet counters, yet even there, every dish that the chef prepares is served at the table.
Do we know and believe that we have a Father who doesn’t just wipe off, but rather gathers even the leftovers? He brings them together because they are the fruit of His miraculous providence and the outworking of His amazing Grace.
Labor Of Love
I find it remarkable how Jesus engaged with His disciples in gathering these fragments. It could not have been an easy task having to wade through a crowd of that number, bending down to the ground to pick up all those leftover pieces. And yet in the fallen, broken fragments we see the un-fragmented love of a God who is willing to bend down or rather stoop down in order to fill our weary empty souls.
The use of human instruments to collect the leftovers speaks volumes of the Father’s mission to ensure the ripe harvest that shall be made available for every hungry child. In this divine assignment, He will meticulously send people in our lives that will toil and go through hardships in order to have the sheep return to the Shepherd’s flock.
I have had the privilege of watching my own youth leader labor tirelessly for my growth. Out of her obedience to the Father’s calling for the lives of those placed under her care, she has gone to great extents to gather so many broken and fragmented youth.
Food For Thought
I’m sure there are many of us still wondering what happens after the leftovers have been gathered. The scripture passage does not respond to this question either. I would like to think it is rightly so because that is God’s plan for each of our individual lives.
However here’s a thought – if leftover food is stored in the refrigerator so that it can be consumed at a later time; know that in all those times you have felt rejected and worthless, our Father hasn’t given up on you. In fact, He’s drawing you back to Him so that everything He made you to be is perfectly preserved.
As He satisfies your own hunger, trust that He is able to pick up the fragmented pieces of your life, make them whole and use you to satisfy another hungry soul.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brinelle D’Cruz was raised Catholic but it took moving to a desert (Qatar) to discover the Wellspring of life. There youth ministry and deep friendships made for refreshing streams alongside salivating shawarma spots. With a degree in Architecture, her aesthetic preference is like her choice of words – minimal, which is why she believes God divinely blessed her with a life-time entertainer, her husband Daniel. They make their home in Mumbai. Connect with her on Instagram @bree.mix