Reflection: 11th November 2018

A Reflection for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

MK 12: 38-44 (  )

 “Would you like to buy me a coffee?” the man who was begging asked. 

I was tempted to say, “Get your own”.  I was at the Starbucks counter.  I needed a mocha badly. I needed a lemon cake.  I only had $6.  If I bought him a coffee, I couldn’t have the cake.  Suddenly, I remembered the gospel.

It was the little widow putting her few coins in the treasury who earned Jesus’ approval.  “She contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

The story told by the Starbucks’ president flashed across my mind.

“Big Jim” - they called him “Big” because he was 6’6” - lived in a nursing home across the street from Starbucks.  Every day at 2 pm, Jim would walk across the street for his blueberry muffin and black coffee.  The staff could count on seeing “Big Jim”, every day.  They would laugh and chat with him.  They would write little notes on his coffee cups: “Have a great day, Jim”.  “Keep smiling.”  “To our friend, Big Jim.”

One day Jim didn’t appear at 2 pm.  Nor at 3, nor 4.  So one of the managers carried a coffee and muffin across the street to the nursing home. “I’m here to give Jim his coffee,” he told the woman at the desk.

“I’m sorry to tell you this,” she said, “Jim died in his sleep last night.”

The next day, Jim’s daughter dropped by the store to ask a favour.  “Is it possible for you to attend Jim’s Memorial Service?”  They agreed and organized others to cover their work assignments.

A reception followed the Service.  They noticed that on each table there were Starbucks’ cups, each engraved with the notes they had written to Big Jim.  He had kept them all.

I bought the man his coffee.  I know he needed it.  Just one little thing can make all the difference.

Brendan Hally C.S.Sp. – An educationalist, and former school chaplain in Rockwell College, Fr Brendan has exercised many leadership roles in the Irish Province.  He is currently one of three Irish Spiritans attached to St. Dunstan’s Parish in California.