July 26, 2009
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. 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?" He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little bit." One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?" 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. 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. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, "Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted." So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. 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." Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you, the Holy Trinity, dwell in my soul. Thank you for the joy of your friendship and love. I hope in you; I hope that you will guide me and my loved ones home to heaven, where we can delight in your presence forever. I love you and long to be a better instrument of your love.
Petition: Lord, help me to achieve an unconditional trust in you.
1. A Test to Help Us to Grow in Trust
It was clear that Jesus’ disciples did not have the means to help these people resolve their predicament -- neither in ready available cash nor in locating a nearby market large enough to feed the overburdening crowd. Yet Scripture says, “He said this to test him.” Let this passage remind us that God can allow our problems to become so big and desperate in order to show forth his power. God wants us to trust in him and to purify our intentions along our journey of faith. How great our Lord is in solving the unsolvable and making possible the impossible. He cures the incurable, raises people from the dead, and, most importantly, converts the erring sinner. “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:38). Do I easily give up hope when I don’t see a human solution to a situation? Blessed is he who believes that what the Lord promises will be fulfilled (Cf. Luke 1:46).
2. Our Lord Wants Us to Play a Part in His Miracle
God has the power of creating something out of nothing, but he asks for human collaboration, even if it is minimal. Here it is no different. The apostles are utterly poor: they can bring to Our Lord only five loaves and two fish from a boy they find in the crowd. Jesus asks us to contribute because he wants to teach us to be generous, even when we think we have nothing to give. Actually, it is when we give from our want that we most please Our Lord (Cf. Luke 21:1-4). Poverty is never an excuse for a lack of generosity in serving and working for Our Lord. This miracle proves to us that Our Lord can never be outdone in generosity.
3. Don’t Miss the Point
In this scene Our Lord slowly prepared his apostles and disciples for his teaching on the Real Presence in the Eucharist. He had to purify their hearts and prune out attachment to the things of this world in order for them to accept the difficult teaching about his self-giving love found in the Eucharist. Even so, when he saw that the people were about to lose the point of his miracle, Our Lord “withdrew again to the mountain alone” (John 6:15). Sometimes Our Lord withdraws the comfort and consolation of his presence in our lives because we wrongly interpret their meaning and purpose. Do I properly discern the spirit in my heart when I pray? Am I happy only for things that give me comfort, or am I truly coming closer to Christ because I recognize who he is and return to him the same authentic love he gives me and wants from me?
Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for this meditation and the lessons I learned from it. Keep me generous so I may never lose my trust in you. When the situations of my life seem unsolvable, help me to trust that in your time, you will work your wonders in my life, bringing glory to your name.
Resolution: I will make a visit to the Eucharist or a spiritual communion each day this week, offering this sacrifice of time for the conversion of the hearts of those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust, or do not love you, Lord, in the Eucharist.
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