What’s leftover after the bread has been eaten? Crusts and crumbs.
If your kids’ plates or lunch boxes look anything like ours, there’s always something left behind.
One doesn’t like crusts. (Another doesn’t like bread.) The oldest always picks apart the sandwich, leaving a pile of crumbs. The littlest throws his extra bits on the floor for the dog.
But there’s still good bread there! I find myself encouraging them. My mother’s own words ring in my head from childhood: “It’s not the heel’s fault it’s at the end of the bread!”
(From time immemorial, parents have coaxed children to please, just eat.)
. . .
Today at Mass I heard a stirring homily. Our pastor can preach, and preach he does. Every Sunday he challenges, coaxes, and encourages us in the pews.
This Sunday morning, like so many others, I caught small echoes between my life and the Scripture readings. Parenting and marriage are my primary callings right now. Naturally I see the world – and hear the Word – through these lenses.
But homilies and sermons rarely get into the grit of our daily lives. With so many daunting crises in our culture, country, and church, no wonder the everyday challenges are often overlooked.
Today in the pew I started to think. I can’t fix the world. I can’t solve these problems. But I can chew on Scripture. And I can invite you to do the same.
So inspired by the women in today’s readings – two coins that turned into treasure, oil and flour that let a family and a stranger eat for a year – I decided there’s no better time than now to offer whatever small something I can.
. . .
Starting on Sunday nights, I’ll offer you crusts and crumbs. Scripture through the lens of parenting. Edges we often overlook. Small bites left to chew.
Each week I’ll try to scrape together enough crusts of thought and crumbs of time to offer you something short and sweet on Sunday evenings. Some weeks it won’t happen; that will be fine, too.
But I’m always hungry for more concrete connections between church and home, spirituality and parenting, faith and family. Hunch tells me I’m not alone. So let’s chew here together.
Hopefully you’ve had a homily full of good news already. But at the end of the day, after the kids are in bed, the kitchen’s cleaned up, and quiet finally settles, I hope you’ll join me for a few last thoughts – crusts and crumbs.
Crusts & Crumbs
The widow had barely enough for herself and her son (1 Kings 17:10-16). She had given everything; she was ready to give up. But then she met a man with strange words and an invitation to trust despite all evidence to the contrary. She didn’t say: “But my child first!” She didn’t protest: “That sounds insane.” She listened. She changed her mind. She risked belief. Asked to stretch even further, to invite a stranger’s needs into her family’s circle, already strained by scarcity, she accepted. Her leap of faith started small: flour and oil, what little she had left. But her gift grew.
Motherhood is not martyrdom, chides every parenting article worth its salt. But sacrifice and the gift of self are woven so tightly into this calling that some days cannot help but feel like death. Can we remember, at least – in the last moments of thinnest patience, the final drops of compassion for a difficult child, the flour dust scraped from the edges to muster energy for another long day – that God sees us?
Elijah calls out to the woman, and they both live instead of die. Jesus watches everyone give money, but the widow with little is the one he praises (Mark 12:38-44). Noticing is not nothing. What is blessed by God grows in strange ways. Two coins from poverty are celebrated for centuries, while the forgotten wealthy poured out treasures that day. Flour and oil start a year of unexpected abundance.
Grace shows up here, all too often: at the end of our temper, in the dredges of our desire, when we feel pushed to the brink of despair. It is the love, not logic, of God’s upside-down kingdom. Poverty becomes wealth. Death becomes life. Society’s margins draw God’s center of attention.
Where might God be calling you to scrape together enough to trust? How could your small offering become the greatest gift of your life?