In the parish office lunchroom there are several well-stocked, large plastic jars of Utz snack foods. My favorites are the unsalted pretzels which I usually raid right around lunchtime. The problem with the jars is that you can stick your hand in and grab a generous fistful of pretzels, but then you can’t get your hand out of the jar!
You have to take your time and remove exactly the number of pretzels you wish to have several at a time. "How many pretzels do I really need to eat today instead of lunch?"
You can get tricky and pour out all the pretzels into a bowl or on the table, OR you can let the lesson of several overtake the desire for handfuls.
There’s a famous painting of the rich young man. It shows mostly his back as he turns away from Jesus with head down. At the end of the sleeve of his fur-lined tunic, a partially clasped hand wearing three expensive, jeweled rings hangs in disappointment.
So like us at times.
Jesus frequently gave life journey advice: Travel lightly, don’t overpack; Take just what you need and nothing more. Don’t build fancy storehouses to warehouse your extra stuff, build up treasures in heaven by helping the poor - especially to food and shelter.
A generous attitude spreads into our whole life – We have time for others, time to volunteer, time to pray, time to spare for important things - Not simply urgent things.
You know the kind of days you can have when you spend most of it doing what cries out for attention and neglect the quiet, really important priorities. You’re left restless and exhausted, instead of tired but fulfilled.
Let us pray for a relaxed attitude toward our possessions, in fact, all our treasures material and immaterial. And cultivate generosity in simple ways, by taking less and giving more.
How sad it would be to get everything else right, and lose the kingdom of heaven over a greedy, clenched fist.