Let’s imagine that it’s a pretty spring morning in Nazareth when Our Lord is six years old. The spring wheat has just been harvested, and Our Lady is going to the miller’s to get a supply of the freshly ground flour. She asks her little son if he wants to go with her. Of course! He is as eager as all children to see, to hear, to experience, to enjoy. And besides, he knows that often on these outings, they stop at the bakery for a fig cake or the honey cakes in flaky pastry.
Mary and Jesus can hear the sound of millstone turning upon millstone as they approach the miller’s shop. He greets them with a warm, friendly “Shalom!”, stopping his laborious turning of the upper stone and coming to the counter. There is an exchange of pleasant conversation, and then Our Lady tells him that she would like one seah of flour. She has brought a cloth about a yard square to serve as a sack in which to bring the flour home to her flour jug. The child Jesus watches the process. The miller reaches down to the container where the flour falls from the millstones and is collected. He uses a bowl to scoop up the flour and fill the seah basket with it. Bowl after bowl of flour goes into the measuring container. When it’s full, the miller raises it several inches above the table and then drops it. He does that several times to make the flour settle well-packed into the seah basket so that there will be room for more. Finally, no more can be put into the seah. Mary sits down in one of the chairs and spreads the cloth on her lap. The miller empties the seah measuring basket into the cloth. Mary gathers the four corners of the cloth, ties them together to form a sack, pays the miller, pronounces a blessing: God be with you, bows as he returns her blessing, and they then walk out into the sunlight toward the bakery.
In the gospel, Our Lord tells us to be totally honest with everyone, fair, generous, and loving. How honest? how fair? I quote from Saint Luke’s gospel: “Good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” I suspect that when he uttered those words, he was thinking of a small boy with his mother at the miller’s shop years ago in Nazareth. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.