Do you remember the expression: those folks are of no account? This means the people being referred to have very little importance, significance or worth as far as the speaker is concerned. In other words, they don’t count. Even the prophet Isaiah (2:22) asked this question about humanity: Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he? Who or what in our lives makes a difference? Who or what really counts?
The Jewish faith has an interesting regulation that illustrates this idea quite literally. Before certain liturgical ceremonies can take place, at least 10 men must be present. This number, which represents the “community of Israel,” is a minimum requirement. In Hebrew, the group is called a minyan and particular prayers cannot be offered unless 10 adult males have arrived. If only nine fellows are present, the immediate need for one more becomes obvious. Therefore, a critical inquiry is, when does a Jewish boy become an adult so that he can be counted? The answer is when he is 13 years old and has received his bar mitzvah. Only then is he considered a “religious adult” who can complete the required quorum and be counted. He counts because he can be counted in and counted upon.
We might conjecture whether Jesus encouraged this minyan notion of communal cohesion when he assured us, that “whenever two or three gather in my name, I will be with them” (2 Cor. 11:23). All prayers are powerful. However, something spiritually exponential occurs when several believers are praying together for the same event, outcome or grace. Celebrating Sunday Mass with other Catholics, ministers and musicians usually brings an aura of strength-in-numbers to the prayers of petition. So often when we are in dire straits we find ourselves asking others to keep us in their prayers. And then, like the thousands who were fed from a few loaves and fishes (Matt14:13-21, Mk 6:31-44, Lk 9:12-17, Jn. 6:1-15), miracles begin to happen since the multiplication of love abounds.
Who and what do we hope to count on this year? Is there a person, place or thing we wish would count more in 2022 than in the past? Let us pray that the new year will bring a happier, healthier, holier 12 months for everyone.
Holy Homework: In plain sight, let’s post three requests that we want to count on with God’s help and invite at least one other person to join us in praying for them.
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