La Casa De La Abundancia

La Casa De La Abundancia

God gave us our blessings to share.

And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.’  Luke 15:31

I start the beginning of every episode tracing my family roots.  I am the daughter of an Italian American mother and Chilean immigrant father.

My father, Joe, now lives in Tennessee. I had the opportunity to visit him over the summer and learn more about my ancestors and culture. In Spanish, we call this, “La Herencia de mi Papa.”

I honored his heritage by creating authentic dishes to share with my friends. Together, we savored the passion of our culture as we shared our love of food and family.

My dad is the reason I love cooking great food and savoring the abundance of life. His favorite verse is Isaiah 55:1:

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters, and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

My father models his life this way. His kitchen pantry is always full. Growing up, we always had food to spare. My father proclaimed our home “La Casa de la Abundancia.”

Yet, he recognized that not everyone was able to live that way. There were people in our own communities hungry and poor. They went to sleep with empty stomachs. We were so blessed while they were in need.

Which is why my father always shared his blessings with others. Anyone in need could find a seat at our table and food to eat. It didn’t matter where we were going, if we saw someone hungry on the way, my father pulled over to buy them a meal. Sharing food was part of sharing our heart. No one would go hungry around him.

These moments with my dad had the greatest impact on my life. This is the part of la Herencia de mi Papa that I try to continue today. It’s why I keep bags of food in my car to give to the homeless or hungry I may encounter. It’s why I pull over to buy food for those in need. God gave me my blessings to share.

Jesus says that when you give even a cup of cold water in His name that you will not lose your reward. This means that God blesses you, and God blesses your giving.

Every first grader learns the basics of subtraction. They know that if you start with one number, and take some away, you end up with less. But that’s not how it works with God. In His economy, the more you give, the more you have. Abundance is not measured by the wallet, it’s measured by the attitude of your heart.

Stinginess comes from a worry of living in lack. If I give this away, will I ever get it back? I earned it. I deserve it. I don’t want to lose it.

That’s the spirit the older son carries in the story Jesus told the crowd in Luke 15. In this story, a loving father divides his life’s earnings between his two boys. The younger son leaves with his money only to shortly waste the inheritance and end up with nothing. When he comes to his senses, he returns to his father. Upon arrival, the father calls for a celebration. He gives his younger son a robe, a ring, and sandals for his feet. He kills the fattened calf, hires a DJ, and they all celebrate the return of the lost son together.

But what about the older son who stayed? The one who still had his half of the inheritance? The fattened calf was technically his. It was part of his inheritance.

The older son could not understand the actions of the father. He steeps so white with rage that he refuses to enter the party. His father pleads with him in the field to come inside, but the son refuses –

‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ Luke 15:29-30

The older son lost sight of his position and proximity to the father.

Which is why the father responds –

‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.’ Luke 15:31

You are always with me, God says. And all that is mine is yours. What is one fattened calf to you, when you own the hills that the calves graze upon?

When you understand who your Father is, and what He owns, you can move with compassion towards people in pain.

You are blessed. You are blessed because God says you are blessed. And since you are blessed, you are well equipped to move towards people in pain. You can sacrifice for those who are hurting because everything that Jesus has is yours.

“Come,” Jesus says. “You blessed of my father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. Whenever you have done this for one of the least of these, you have done it for me.”


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