READINGS for 2006-07-30
DON?T THROW AWAY LOVE
There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish? ? John 6:9
?This is for you, Daddy.?
Lord, thank You that Your miracles comes in small, simple packages. Help me to never take them for granted.
2 Kings 4:42-44
Today?s responsorial Psalm (Psalm 144) gives us an interpretation of the reading when it speaks of ?the hand of the Lord feeding us; he answers all our needs.? Do you believe that God will provide for your needs? If not, then how do you account for this promise of the psalmist? Yes, there are many in the world that lack things that are essential for true human dignity. But this is not a lack of provision on the part of the Lord. There are many who have extra and refuse to share. Woe to those who deprive others of what is rightfully theirs.
42 A man came from Baal-Shalishah bringing the man of God twenty barely loaves made from the first fruits, and fresh grain in the ear. ?Give it to the people to eat,? Elisha said. 43 But his servant objected, ?How can I set this before a hundred men?? ?Give it to the people to eat,? Elisha insisted. ?For thus says the LORD, ?They shall eat and there shall be some left over.?? 44 And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said.
P S A L M
Psalm 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18
R: The hand of the Lord feed us; he answers all our needs.
10 Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. 11 Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might. (R) 15 The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season; 16 you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (R) 17 The LORD is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. 18 The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. (R)
One of the best ways to retain unity in any community is to ensure that all in the group do not lack any of the essentials of dignified living. In standing by one another in times of need and difficulty, bonds of love are cemented in place that are very difficult to break. They will stand the test of time, as people will always remember acts of love shared with them. Let us pray that our communities will increase the number of ways by which the members share their love with one another so that our love will draw others into the salvation that the Gospel of Love offers to the world.
1 I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, 3 striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: 4 one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
There must have been a fairly constant battle in Jesus? life with the temptation to go off on His own authority rather than remain totally submissive to the Father?s will. This temptation would only have been heightened by the magnitude of His miracles and the subsequent peoples? desire to make Him king. Jesus, however, resisted such temptations and kept His life in accord with His Father?s will. This is a great model for us in our own lives especially when things are going well and we seem to be invincible. This is never the case. Sin and temptation are never far away. Let us remain in obedience to God?s will in order to keep them at a distance from us.
1 After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee [of Tiberias]. 2 A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish feast of Passover was near. 5 When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, ?Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?? 6 He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, ?Two hundred days? wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little [bit].? 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, 9 ?There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?? 10 Jesus said, ?Have the people recline.? Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. 12 When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, ?Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.? 13 So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. 14 When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, ?This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.? 15 Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
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WITHOUT ANY ROOM FOR DOUBT
Jesus, you were very clear on what was essential to your mission and what was not. Help me to have the same clarity in my life as to where I should be placing my energies.
St. Peter Chrysologus., bishop and confessor, pray for us.The fact that there is clearly more food after everyone has eaten than when they started to eat is a clear sign that Jesus has worked a miracle. Some scholars sometimes suggest that the miracle was not so much a multiplication of the food but that Jesus was able to convince everyone there to share what food they have. This is clearly a spurious suggestion as the Gospel Writer makes it clear that there is not enough food to start with and nor is there enough money to buy food for all.
We are definitely dealing with a miracle of multiplication. Why anyone feels that they have to doubt almost seems as though such people are afraid of the power of God to work outside the normal powers of nature. Yes, this is an amazing event, but our God is a God of surprises as He has so often demonstrated throughout history making the seeming impossible to happen and the highly probable to stop dead in its tracks. All this means is that we should stand in awe of God and humbly admit that not only is His power beyond us but so is comprehension of it beyond our small minds.
This miracle, the fourth recorded in John?s Gospel is situated before the Eucharistic discourse and it seems to me that it informs us as to how we should, at least partially, view the Eucharist as a source of our spiritual nourishment. Just as Jesus miraculously sates the hunger of thousands by multiplying the bread and fish, so too, He miraculously sustains us spiritually through the gift of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. If we stand in awe of the feeding miracle how much more should we be in awe of the His offering himself to us in the Eucharist?
It is also made clear at the end of this passage that Jesus is not after temporal power. He is not interested in being made an earthly king. He wants only to do what His Father wants Him to do as is indicated by His escaping from the crowds and going off into the hills to pray. Not only does Jesus display enormous power in His ministry, but a depth of humility that is difficult to fathom accompanies this power. I tend to think that it is His humility that is one if not the most important aspect of His character for us to imitate. Fr. Steve T.
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