Becoming Holy

Hunger Games

on October 16, 2014

Our parish youth group participated in a 30 hour fast this past weekend. A powerful journey for them and for our community as a whole. What does a 30 hour fast look like?  I will share the view from our home.  Our daughter, Madison, chose to join in the fast and connected with her friend, Bridget. They spent the night before the Fast at Bridget’s home baking and enjoying treats. The fast actually began at 3 A.M. so the girls dutifully planned to eat just prior to that.  They had been blessed by the delivery of some Krispy Kreme donuts and managed to eat three a piece just before the three o’clock morning hour!  (Carb up before starving, right?)  

The youth met in Keuterville at 10 A.M. and the event began. I am going to have to rely on Maddie for specifics. Read her blog, here, to learn more from her perspective!  At noon the youth met down town at City Park to pray the World Rosary with members of our community.  Our family joined in and took joy in seeing so many youth carrying rosaries and banners and praying for peace and for our country.

The next morning, at Mass, the youth put on a skit and it spoke volumes to my heart. A girl was standing near a big box with a small hole cut out.  She prayed for food and a hand reached out of the cutout and gave her an apple.  She was so thankful for this “apple machine.” Another girl came up, obviously starving, and asked for food.  She was tired, weak and hungry. The first girl would not share her apple, but instead suggested that they pray for another one. After praying, a bell rang and another apple was handed out of the machine. The first girl took it and the hungry girl asked if she could have it since she was so hungry and the first girl had two.  “No,” the first girl replied, “I might need this to eat tomorrow. Maybe you should pray for yourself.” The other girl prayed, the bell rang, and another apple appeared. The first girl again took the apple.  This time she refused to share it because she needed to take it to market to get cash so she could keep her apple machine in good repair. The apple machine was ringing and handing out apple after apple. The girl couldn’t hold them all in her arms yet she continued to refuse to share with the hungry girl.  She suggested that the hungry girl get a job, pray harder, quit being lazy, get her own apple machine and decided that maybe God didn’t like the hungry girl. The starving girl kept her faith in God even when she was sent on her way.  The irony at then end was the first girl getting on her phone and “Twittering” how blessed she was.  “#Jesusismyco-pilot. #Feelingblessed.  She never shared of her wealth and yet she felt she was following Christ. 

It was powerful for me because we are SO blessed in America. It is easy to want to save for tomorrow, to believe that we can do more good by building our personal wealth, by believing that people are lazy or need to try harder. The apple machine effectively portrayed wealth and abundance. The first girl demonstrated a lack of personal responsibility to those around her. The second girl kept her faith despite her hunger. Pope Francis has called for us to work to eradicate hunger. We can best begin in our own communities. The youth collected over $1000 for World Vision and Catholic Relief Services to help in a broader scale. 

Upon returning home, I could tell Madison had new awareness of the problem of hunger. Periodically she would comment, “We have it so good here.” Discussing further, she shared how her appreciation for food, water, lights, heat and all our blessings has increased. This would not be possible without experiencing hunger…the kind that comes from 30 hours without food. Building cardboard houses and having them rained on, begging for money from strangers at Church, playing games that replicate situations in Third World countries~each of these experiences helped build solidarity with the poor and homeless. 

Debbie Chicane, our Youth Minister, shared, “The fast gives our youth a chance to step outside themselves for a small amount of time to know what it is like to walk in the shoes of the less fortunate. Through understanding the needs of another, we are given a chance to be more of who God calls us to be~a true body of Christ, alive and active in the world. God is certainly present in the hunger, lessons, reflection, competitions, writing, prayers, laughter, stories, painting, begging, singing, and sacrificing.  God is in it all.”

I thank God for the gift of the 30 Hour Fast for our youth. I thank Him for letting them share this experience with our entire faith community. However, it is hard to know that there are many youth in the world for whom this is not an “experience.” It is their reality. Asking God to continue to bless the young people of the world~those who hunger and those who “hunger” to make a difference. 

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