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August 24th, 2011

Jesus Feeds 5000 With Fish And Bread

Jesus Feeds The 5000

Jesus Feeds 5000 With Fish And Bread (Matthew 14:13-21)

On hearing about the death of John the Baptist, Jesus set out secretly by boat for a secluded place. But the people heard of it, and they followed him on foot from their towns. When Jesus went ashore, He saw the crowd gathered there and He had compassion on them. And He healed their sick.

Late in the afternoon, his disciples came to him and said, “We are in a lonely place and it is now late. You should send these people away, so they can go to the villages and buy something for themselves to eat”. But Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat”. They answered, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fishes”. Jesus said to them, “Bring them here to me”.

Then He made everyone sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fishes, raised his eyes to heaven, pronounced the blessing, broke the loaves and handed them to the disciples to distribute to the people. And they all ate, and everyone had enough; then the disciples gathered up the leftovers, filling twelve baskets. About five thousand men had eaten there besides women and children.

Reflection:-

Jesus shows us just how much He wants to involve us in his saving work. He who had created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, could have easily created a rich banquet from nothing to satiate the multitudes. But He preferred to work the miracle starting with the best his disciples could give him.

“We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish” (Mt 14:17), they said. “Bring them here to me” (Mt 14:18), Jesus replied. The Lord was able to multiply that meager donation — not enough even to feed a typical family — to nourish about 5000 families.

The Lord showed the same protocol at the wedding feast of Cana. He who created all the seas could easily have filled the six 30-gallon containers with choice wine from scratch. But He again wanted to involve his creatures in the miracle, by having them fill the containers with water first.

We see the same principle in the celebration of the Eucharist. Jesus begins not from nothing, nor from grain and grapes, but from bread and wine, which already contain within the work of human hands.

The late Cardinal François Xavier Nguyen van Thuan, imprisoned from 1975-1988 by the Vietnamese communists, wondered how he could further Christ’s kingdom and care for his flock while undergoing the brutal suffering of solitary confinement. He realized he might not be able to do much from a prison cell, but at least each day he could offer to the Lord his “five loaves and two fish,” and let God do the rest. The Lord multiplied those little efforts into a witness that has inspired not only the Vietnamese but the whole Church.

Today the Lord is asking us, his modern disciples, to give the crowds something to eat (Mt 14:16). No matter how much or how little we have, let us give it to the Lord and let him take it from there.

– – – reflection by Fr. Roger J. LANDRY

August 4th, 2011

Martha And Mary With Jesus

Martha and Mary with Jesus

Martha And Mary With Jesus (Luke 10:38-42)

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He entered a village and a woman called Martha welcomed him to her house. She had a sister named Mary who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to his words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving and finally she said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the serving?”. But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her”.

Reflection:-

We, no matter how busy we may be, must also listen to our Lord reminding us that “only one thing is needed” (Luke 10:42): esteem and saintliness. They should be our aim, the horizon we must never lose sight of amidst our daily chores.

Because we shall be “busy” if we follow our Creator’s plan: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28). The earth! the world!: this is our meeting point with the Lord. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (Jn 17:15). Yes, the world is an “altar” for us and for our donation to God and to the others.

We belong in this world, but that does not mean we have to be worldly. On the contrary, we are called to become – in a beautiful expression of His Holiness John Paul II – “Priests of Creation!” Priests of our world, of a world we passionately love.

Here is the question: world and saintliness; our daily chores and the one and only thing we truly need. They are not two opposed realities: and we have to try to make both coincide. And this coincidence must be carried out – in the first place and basically – in our own heart, where heaven and earth can be reunited. Because in the human heart is where the dialogue between Creator and creature takes place.

Therefore, prayer is necessary. Ours is a time of continual movement which often leads to restlessness, with the risk of “doing for the sake of doing”. We must resist this temptation by trying “to be” before trying “to do”. In this regard we should recall how Jesus reproved Martha: ‘You are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful’ (Luke 10:41-42) — (John Paul II).

There is no opposition between “to be” and “to do”, but there is indeed a priority order of precedence. “Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).

– – – reflection by Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench (Barcelona, Spain)

July 30th, 2011

Parables About The Kingdom of Heaven

Parables About The Kingdom of Heaven

Parables About The Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:44-53)

Jesus said to the crowds, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. The one who finds it buries it again; and so happy is he, that he goes and sells everything he has, in order to buy that field. Again the kingdom of heaven is like a trader who is looking for fine pearls. Once he has found a pearl of exceptional quality, he goes away, sells everything he has and buys it”

Jesus said to his disciples, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a big fishing net let down into the sea, in which every kind of fish has been caught. When the net is full, it is dragged ashore. Then they sit down and gather the good fish in buckets, but throw the worthless ones away. That is how it will be at the end of time; the angels will go out to separate the wicked from the just and throw them into the blazing furnace, where they will weep and gnash their teeth”.

Jesus asked, “Have you understood all these things?”. “Yes”, they answered. So He said to them, “You will see that every teacher of the Law who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom is like a householder who can produce from his store things both new and old”. When Jesus had finished these parables, He left the place.

Reflection:-

Today, Matthew places three parables about the Kingdom of Heaven for us to ponder over. The announcement of the Kingdom is of essence in Jesus’ preaching and in the hopes of the chosen people. But it is evident the nature of this Kingdom is not understood by the majority. The Sanhedrin who condemned him to death did not understand it, nor did Pontius Pilate or Herod, and initially, not even his disciples understood it.

We can find only in the good thief, hung in a cross along with him, the comprehension Jesus requests when he says: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Both had been accused as criminals and were about to die; but, because of an unknown reason, the good thief recognizes Jesus as the King of a Kingdom that will come after that terrible death. It could only be a spiritual Kingdom.

In his first preaching, Jesus speaks of the Kingdom as of a hidden treasure, the finding of which causes the finder a great joy and impels him to buy the field to be able to enjoy it forever: “and so happy is he, that he goes and sells everything he has, in order to buy that field” (Matthew 13:44). But, at the same time, to reach the Kingdom it is necessary to look for it with yearning and effort, to the point of selling all one may have: “Once he has found one of exceptional quality, he goes away, sells everything he has and buys it” (Matthew 13:46). “What is He referring to when He says seek and he who seeks, finds? I daresay He is referring to the pearls and to the pearl, pearl that acquires he who has given up everything and has accepted to lose everything”.

The Kingdom is peace, justice and liberty. To reach it is, at the same time, a gift from God and a human responsibility. In front of the greatness of this divine gift we realize the imperfection and instability of our own efforts, quite often destroyed by our sins, our wars and our malice that looks insurmountable. Nevertheless, we must have confidence, because what looks impossible for man is more than possible for God.

This Gospel is a vital call to conversion. Jesus does not spare us the hard reality: “The angels will go out to separate the wicked from the just and throw them into the blazing furnace” (Matthew 13:49-50). The warning is quite clear. We just cannot take it easy and go to asleep!

Now, it is our turn to freely choose: we either seek God and make goodness a part of our life, or we prefer to stand on the precipice of death. Or with Christ or against him. To convert ourselves means, in this case, to freely opt to become one of the upright ones and live a life worthy of his sons. However, within us we have the experience of sin: we realize the good we should do but we do the evil, instead; what do we do to provide our lives with a sense of true unity? We, alone, cannot do much. Only if we place ourselves in God’s hands shall we be able to attain the goodness and be counted amongst the upright ones.

“Because we know not when our Judge shall appear, so we should live every day as if it were our last” (St. Jerome). These words are a call to live with intensity and responsibility our Christianity. It is not a matter of being afraid, but of living in the hope this is a time of grace, praise and glory.

Christ shows us the only way to our own glorification. Christ is the only way to heaven; therefore, our salvation, our happiness and whatever we can imagine happens through Him. And if we have everything in Christ, we can hardly refrain from loving the Church, that shows him to us and is its mystic body. Against purely human visions of this reality we have to recuperate the divine-spiritual vision: nothing bigger than Christ and the fulfillment of his will!

– – – reflection by Fr. Enric CASES i Martin and  Fr. Ferran JARABO i Carbonell

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