Monday, August 3, 2015

“Men will trust in God no further than they know Him”

“The true Christian can nurture a trustful optimism, because he is certain of not walking alone. In sending us Jesus, the eternal Son made man, God has drawn near to each of us. In Christ he has become our traveling companion.” ― Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005: Declared a saint by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014)

Gospel Text: (Matthew 14:13-21)
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already late;
dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages
and buy food for themselves.”
He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me,”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over–
twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.

In today's gospel reading Jesus tries to take some time for Himself to mourn the death of John, a close relative and a good man who took his faith quite seriously; maybe Jesus even foresaw in John's death His own destiny. When the crowds flock to Him and He sees their need, however, Jesus sets His own needs and desires aside and ministers to them, body and soul.

The disciples care about the crowds in their own way, as they have begun to learn that other-centeredness which is so much a part of Jesus' teaching. They are not aware that they can do more, but they turn to Jesus in their need --- and He tells to them to feed the crowd themselves. They do not see what He is getting at, but Jesus takes what they think is only a little and blesses it. Putting that back into their hands, they suddenly have enough to take care of the people as they wish to, but only because they gave Jesus what they had and He blessed that tiny amount of bread and fish.

We ourselves wish to care for others, but we also believe that we do not have enough to do the great things that our hearts dream of. But do we turn our gifts over to Jesus, along with our hopes and dreams, and let Him bless them? Do we then trust that we too have enough to perform miracles of love?

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