By Lucy Johnson
Recently, I attended a two-day Catholic women’s conference about four hours away from my home. In an effort to save money, I drove with three other women and shared a hotel room. Two of the women I knew fairly well; the other, I got to know better.
The conference was good, the speakers were informative, and the training was helpful. As we were driving back, we discussed what the “best part” was for each of us. For me, it was the conversations held outside the conference, those in the car, at the bar, at lunch.
Spending eight hours in a car allows for a myriad of topics to be discussed, almost all centering around our shared Catholic faith. I was telling my car mates that I had attended a reunion at the University of Minnesota this summer and learned that some of my professors and mentors were Catholic. I don’t remember knowing that when I was a student some 40 years ago. One of the women asked me why I didn’t ask if they were Catholic back in my college days, and without hesitating, I blurted out “because it didn’t matter.”
Have you ever had that experience when you say something and then wonder where did that come from? Well, this was one of those moments. Why did I even say that? Of course my Catholic faith mattered, but back then it wasn’t front and center in my life as it is today. In the days and weeks since the conference, I’ve had time to really think about this conversation. What changed for me?
I think the answer is in today’s readings. Like the Israelites, I have come to depend on the Bread of Life for my substance. It wasn’t always that way. Through all of the turmoil and stress of life, I have learned to trust God and to rely on Him to provide for my daily needs. Today’s First Reading from Exodus is one of my favorites due in part to the rest of the story that follows the reading. The Israelites were instructed to gather only the manna that they needed for one day and not to try and “store up” a supply. They did not listen to Moses and the extra manna that they collected became wormy and stank. However, on the sixth day of the week, they were able to gather enough for two days since the Sabbath was a day of rest. That manna did not become wormy.
God’s lesson to the Israelites is also a lesson for me. I need to just focus on today and not worry about storing up riches for tomorrow. I am reminded of this every time I pray the Our Father. Give us today our daily bread. It also reinforces for me what are the treasures that I am trying to store up. By putting God first and receiving the true Bread from Heaven as often as possible, I have found my faith to grow deeper.
Today when I meet someone new, inevitably the subject of being Catholic finds a way into the conversation. I have learned that it truly does matter.
About the author:
Lucy Johnson lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband, Jeff. She has 7 children, and 8 grandchildren. Past-President of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. (ACCW 2013-2015), Pharmacist, A “Martha” working on her “Mary”.