Sometimes it's overwhelming to see all that's wrong with the world. War and hunger, homelessness and disease. Hatred and division. School shootings and kidnappings and senseless murders. It can feel hopeless--like nothing we can do will make any difference.
Jesus must have known that things would get that way. Remember the story of Mary Magdalene who broke her alabaster jar and washed Jesus' feet with her hair? And when the disciples criticized her, how did Jesus respond? He defended her, saying simply, "She did what she could."
That might be my favorite story in the entire Bible. A woman who was looked down upon. She had only one thing to give to Jesus, and so she gave it. She did what she could. And that was enough.
|Photo by me - Loretto Chapel - 2012|
Giving what we can. That's all any of us can do. If we look at all of the things that we can't do, or if we compare what we can do with the things that other people can do.....well that's where we run into problems.
If, instead, we realize that, like Mary Magdalene, we are simply called to do what we can, that's where the little things can make a difference. Mother Teresa understood this, and she said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
We can be kind to our neighbors. We can donate what we are able to the hungry. We can pray for the lonely. We can bake a casserole when someone is going through a hard time (particularly if we're from the South). We can give our time to worthwhile causes. And while these may be little things, perhaps that is not where the story ends.
A priest put it best at the end of a homily I heard last week when he said, "I trust that if we do the little things that we can do, and if we do them with great love, God will turn these little things into great things."
Amen to that.