Psalms 54:3-4, 6, 8
Last night I picked tomatoes and eggplants and peppers from our garden (and in turn provided sustenance to the hordes of flood hatched mosquitoes which have recently inhabited our area). The pears are ripe and the apples are so heavy on the trees that the branches bend low to the ground. The grape vines have never been so full. As I usually do when I am wandering around my little corner of the world, outside in our garden and orchard, I gave a simple prayer of thanks - thanks to God that my efforts have borne fruit because God's design enables my work to result in good things. I also thought about what I am going to do with all those apples, but that is a good problem to have.
The responsorial psalm and gospel today reinforce this simple reality for me - God is here to help us with our daily lives. The readings remind me of a saying my mother was fond of using: "God helps those who help themselves." I don't think this folk wisdom encourages unilateral action, or a spirit of unfounded independence, although
it might for someone who doesn't reflect on God's role. I think it means that we need to act in our lives, but that in acting God helps us. We can't be too passive, we must take some initiative. As we do, God is there to help us. God helps in the simple things, such as enabling tomatoes to grow. God helps in the sublime, such as appreciating the beauty of life itself. God is with us in the big things too, obviously, but for most of us our days are filled with little things, long times of regularity only sporadically punctuated by the big things of life.
It is easy to forget to thank God for the red tomato, the glossy dark eggplant, the shiny green pepper. I think our lives become richer though if we generate the habit of thanking and appreciating God in these simple things, for then when the big deals happen to us, we have the strength of all those quiet, regular, daily events to rely on. We have the confidence to ask God for help, because we know that if God is with us in the little events of every day life, surely God is with us in the momentous times of crisis.
By Tom Purcell