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Homily stories

A lily of the field

My mother never had much by way of money or material possessions. Luckily, such things didn’t really matter to her. Granted she wanted a roof over her head and food on the table. But she preferred apartment living in the city to a big house in the suburbs, and tuna and noodles and rye toast with butter were feast enough any day of the week. It never dawned on me that we lived fairly simply until once when my more well-to-do cousins were visiting. One of them asked for a bowl, and I handed her the green and white plastic cereal bowl I used every morning. “Don’t you have a stoneware bowl?” I didn’t even know what stoneware was.

That is when I started to take the inventory on my mother’s possessions: Everyday dishes gathered with stamps from the grocery store. Glasses collected from the gas station—it took forever to get a set of six water glasses and tumblers. Good china and silverware from Maremont Mufflers as a gift to my dad for salesman of the year. Towels from boxes of Breeze. I never saw my mother buy a single thing for herself or ask for anything other than her family’s health and happiness. Yet not even Solomon, in all his glory, was arrayed as she with the glow of unremitting faith and loving kindness.