February 11, 2012
Saturday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary
Listen to podcast here.
In those days when
there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
he summoned the disciples and said, "My heart is moved
with pity for the crowd, because they have been with
me now for three days and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes, they
will collapse on the way, and some of them have
come a great distance." His disciples answered him, "Where can
anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this
deserted place?" Still he asked them, "How many loaves do
you have?" "Seven," they replied. He ordered the
crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the
seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them
to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to
the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said
the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They
ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left
over -- seven baskets. There were about four thousand people.
He dismissed them and got into the boat with his
disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
Prayer: Lord, how quickly I lose faith and begin to
trust more in things that I can touch and see
than in your promises and strength. But I do believe
in you, that you are the Bread of Life, and
that only you can satisfy the deepest longings of my
heart. As you are my Creator, you know what I
need and provide for me each day. As you are
my Redeemer, you lead me along the pathway of the
cross and forgiveness. I want to follow you more closely.
Petition: Lord, strengthen my faith, so that I
can be magnanimous like you.
“I feel sorry for all these people.” Jesus shows compassion
for the crowd, even for their temporal needs. He knows
how earthly they can be, seeking only to satisfy their
need for bread and water. In another passage he says,
“Why worry about what you are to eat, or drink,
or what you are to wear? … All these things
the pagans seek” (Matthew 6:25-33) –– “pagans,” that is, those
with no faith or trust in the heavenly Father. Our
Lord does not worry about food and clothing for himself,
although he does seek to provide them for others. But
his charity doesn’t end there. He sincerely desires their greatest
good, and for this reason gives them much more than
a passing meal. Together with bread and water, he gives
them the gift of faith. After all, man does not
live on bread alone” (Luke 4:4).
2. “Where could
anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted
place like this? The apostles ask a very human question,
revealing the poverty of their faith in Jesus. Such a
question, without faith, would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since the
task seems impossible, why try at all? How often does
this way of thinking rein us in from doing great
things for God and expecting great things from him? How
often do we resign ourselves to defeat, content to mourn
and lament seemingly hopeless situations, as if God were not
almighty and willing to help us? We need the faith
of the Blessed Virgin, who believed the impossible and became
the mother of all who believe.
3. "They ate as much as they wanted
and they collected seven basketfuls of the scraps left over."
Jesus offers the fullness of life and love,
an abundance of goodness and grace, to all who follow
him. His ways are the ways of life. He allows
us to suffer want in this life so that we
will tap into the true source of abundance through faith,
hope and love. Those who seek themselves by seeking purely
material goods - which are limited by definition - will
always be in want and will always feel the threat
of losing what they have. Those who seek Christ and
his grace - which is unlimited by definition - will
never fear when they lose their earthly goods. That is
why Jesus says that anyone who has (faith, hope, love,
grace, the gifts of the spiritual life), more will be
given, and from the one who has not (none of
these spiritual gifts), even what he seems to have (material
possessions which are here today and gone tomorrow, always decaying
and coming to an end) will be taken away. (Luke
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, give me the gift of compassion, so that I
may serve others with your heart. Give me the gifts
of faith, hope and love so that I will understand
that your goodness knows no bounds or limits, and that
you wish to pour out your grace on all until
our cups are overflowing.
will be magnanimous in my charity towards others today.