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Saint John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church
This is the Lord … let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us! (Isaiah 25:9)
Did you know that in 2012, worldwide lottery sales topped $275 billion? Every week, two hundred million people play in the Euro-Million lottery. In the UK, about 70 percent of the adult population plays the National Lottery. And since the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, Americans have spent as much on lotteries as the US military has spent on the war in Afghanistan: $532.6 billion. Yet the odds of winning any of those lotteries are nearly impossible. The odds for the United States’ huge Powerball lottery in 2012 was estimated at one in 175 million!
Why do people spend so much money for the tiniest chance of winning a fortune? Hope and trust. Despite all logic, they have a glimmer of hope and trust that they will be that one out of the 175 million, and their lives will be made perfect. Yet even as we dream about winning the lottery, especially around Christmas, the reality is that most big winners are less happy afterward. Half of them, in fact, end up bankrupt within a few years. So if the lottery is nearly impossible to win and doesn’t guarantee happiness, where is the hope? What is worth trusting in?
Each of today’s readings gives us the answer we need to hear: Trust in the Lord. Isaiah tells us to trust in God, for he will save us and wipe away our tears. In Psalm 23, David trusts that God will take care of his every need and protect him from harm. Lastly, Matthew describes what happened when four thousand people trusted and stayed with the Lord for three days. He fed them all with just a few loaves and fishes—and had baskets filled with leftovers!
As far as God is concerned, you are that important lottery winner. In his eyes, you are that one in 175 million. And the jackpot that you have won will never spoil or fade. No, he will take your meager fish and bread and exchange them for baskets of blessings. So in your prayer today, rejoice in your good fortune. Trust in the Lord, and watch your blessings multiply!
“Lord, help me to keep my dreams focused on you. I trust that you will provide everything that I need. Help me to stay close to you.”
Psalm 23:1-6; Matthew 15:29-37
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