Thursday, July 31, 2014
"Give them some food yourselves."
The miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish that is mentioned in this Sunday's Readings (18A) for August 3, 2014 is so central to the gospel message that it is one of the few miracles found in all four gospels. It help us recognize the gifts we have been given and the responsibility we have to give them to others. And it offers important food for thought as we debate the immigration dilemma we currently face at our porous borders. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with family, friends and church groups.
This week's Gospel story starts with Jesus hearing about the death of John the Baptist and then withdrawing to a deserted place for prayer. Fr. Phil Bloom tells us we are also invited to withdraw to a deserted place for prayer and reflection. And the more one reflects upon the ways of God with us humans, the more it becomes clear that God really does trust us and really does want us to become free and responsible persons who do not sit around waiting for someone else to solve our problems.
All You Who Are Hungry and Thirsty, Come to Me!
On its own, the feeding of the Five Thousand is a marvellous account of one of the greatest and most attested to miracles. But to put it in context is to open up a whole new layer of meaning and depth. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says we are shown a contrast between the total inability of the disciples alone to deal with a desperate situation and the ease with which Jesus provides a solution.
It is clear that many of the problems we face are well beyond our abilities. But our strength grows immeasurably in the presence of God. It is a reminder that God will always provide. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says we have only to go to Him, stay united to Him, and we will receive bread for His people.
True Christian ministry
Fr. James Gilhooley explains how this Gospel story tells us the role of the disciples in Christ's plan. It was they who gave out the meal to the crowd. He worked through the hands of the disciples and He still operates through us. Jesus' response to the crowds following Him served to impress upon His disciples the mandate for their own self-sacrificial ministry. The shepherd denies himself for the sake of the flock. That's the example that He's set for them, Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. explains. The needs of people sick and ignorant and disconsolate and hungry meant far more to Jesus than His own convenience and ease.
God Himself is teaching us the responsibility to minister. Are we the messengers Jesus wants us to be? Will we loan Him our hands, feet, and voice today? He has no other plan. And, Fr. Ron Rolheiser points out, where truth operates you see poverty turn into abundance; death turn into life; war turn into peace; and hunger turn into food.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB looks to Matthew's depiction of Christ's threefold action of looking up to heaven, reciting a prayer of praise, and breaking the bread as a beautiful pattern that we could well apply to our own daily living. It offers us a blueprint for authentic Christian spirituality that involves frequently raising our hearts and minds to God in prayer, giving thanks and praise for what is, and then sharing it with others.
Foreshadowing the Last Supper
There are clear Eucharistic references in the this Gospel text such as Jesus taking the bread raising his eyes to heaven, blessing it, breaking it and giving it to them. Clearly, Alex McAllister SDS tells us, this miracle is therefore a foreshadowing of the Last Supper. Father Cusick points out that our Lord gives a great sign of the gift of the Eucharist in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes.
This transformation, this multiplication is a supernatural marvel that is the source of other marvels. In fact, says Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D, if we were to unpack just a fraction more of the miraculous power contained in the Eucharist, we, the Church and the world would be forever different. We are to be like Jesus in our actions toward other people. What we receive as we walk up the aisle to communion, Fr. John Foley, S. J. highlights for us, makes us into God’s way of fulfilling the Gospel.
Popular Culture and Christian Values
Deacon Greg Kandra balances the pleasant news with a stirring rebuke. He says sometimes it seems like Catholics dress better to go to a restaurant than to take Communion with the King of Heaven. His treatise is aptly called "No Flip-Flops in the King's House."
Speaking of Life, Cardinal Burke a few years back preached this timeless message, that suffering does not eliminate purpose, dignity of humans. “No matter how much a life is diminished, no matter what suffering the person is undergoing, that life demands the greatest respect and care,” he said, adding, “It's never right to snuff out a life because it's in some way under heavy burden.”
Stress, JPII and the World's Largest Dog
Got Stress? Everybody deals with anxiety and depression sometimes, but some of us have a particularly difficult time in managing everyday anxieties. Here is a brief list of techniques you can use to help manage your most persistent fears and every day anxieties.
Judith Costello's family has always had Pope John Paul II close to them. Her young son once did a research project about the newly canonized Pope. And it continued all year! The amazing thing is that St. John Paul II touched them deeply. They began asking for his intercession for many things. Read her story.
Finally, here's a story about the world's biggest dog. This mild lumbering Great Dane is over 7 feet long, huge, but he's terrified of chihuahuas. You have to read this.
Another eventful week in our Catholic World. A blessed and happy new week to all.
Keep the Faith. Peace.
Publisher & Editor in chief
BURNINQ QUESTION: Eucharist? Communion? Which is it?
FEATURED BLOG: What does God think about cremation?
PASTORAL HISPANA: Dios manifiesta su ternura dandonos de comer
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