19/09/2010

The following reflection is by Tom Cahill

Somebody described a diamond as a lump of coal that did well under pressure. Not so for dandelion seeds. Under pressure, recently, they caused problems. A train travelling from Halifax, West Yorkshire to King's Cross, London, had its engines clogged by drifting dandelion seeds. These spindly, puffy parachutes blocked the air filters in four of its five engines. The mighty machine could only inch ignominiously into King's Cross station.

Even more troublesome were the grains of fine ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallaji volcano. Consisting of pulverised rock and glass, such ash can wreak havoc on planes. Sandblasting windscreens, they effectively 'blind' pilots. They pit fuselages, damage landing lights, and clog sensors making air speed indicators unreliable. Being charged particles, they disrupt radio communication and even cause power failure. None of these pitted pellets of rock and glass is more than 2 millimetres in diameter. As the song says: little things mean a lot.

Had the manager in today's Gospel (Luke 16:1-13) known that, he might have been more careful with his employer's property. Caught in the mire of cheating, he sinks deeper into scheming and theft. Anyone crooked enough to go along with his dishonest ruse could hardly be relied upon to come to his help at a later date. Why should they? Honour among thieves? I doubt it. When life's worries weigh us down, let's remember the lump of coal. Pressure transformed it. It can transform us too. We're already halfway there when we remember, if not the diamond then, the pearl of great price we carry within us: God's Holy Spirit.
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