The Girls Are Back in Town
Woot! We were able to meet today! I am so happy. How I have missed my sisters-in-Christ. Summer is nearly over and has wreaked its havoc on our team schedule, but many good things have happened among us this summer and the Holy Spirit didn’t have to have us all on hand to do it. Just like this Sunday’s gospel, God isn’t waiting for all the right ingredients to be on hand to feed a huge crowd of people. He used a little bread and fish to feed thousands with plenty of leftovers. As you pray with this scripture, see if you are in the crowd or maybe one of the disciples? What do you notice about Jesus?
After that, be a fly on the wall in our prayer group’s discussion today and see how the Holy Spirit revealed himself to us.
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.”
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.
that had been more than they could eat…
As school approaches and things start to get stressful again, I will remember that God has more than enough graces and strength for me, with “fragments” left over; enough to cover my needs…and then some. God will never be outdone in generosity; the apostles were very human and now they are saints. All it took to make them saints was to remain in the presence of Jesus. I can do that as well through prayer.
A large crowd followed him…
A priest was relating to his parish that there were plenty of spiritual leaders and rabbis at that time, so what would make people leave everything to follow Jesus instead of their own spiritual leaders? Obviously these human leaders didn’t have the gift that God has in making us feel verdant. The crowd sensed Christ’s genuine love for them. They followed him to have their spiritual needs met, but in his great love provided for their human physical needs as well, making it real and tangible.
Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks…
Jesus set the example in his graciousness. He gave thanks FIRST before breaking the bread. He began with gratitude. He was also an example of great humility because he removed himself (to be fed spiritually) so the crowd wouldn’t raise him up as some kind of king.
I feel for Philip…
What would it have been like to be in Philip’s shoes? Jesus asks him how to feed the crowd and Philip struggles with finding an answer from his own intelligence rather than looking to Christ and trusting. How many times am I like Philip, overthinking every problem in my life, doubting and trying to force solutions to find answers of my own accord? We need to rely on faith, not intellect. We need to offer Christ our full surrender and dependency on him because we can only see so far around our own situations.
This whole gospel reminds us of the Eucharist and communion at mass. The priest prepares the altar, gives thanks, breaks bread, distributes it and then cleans the vessels. Not one crumb of bread (Christ’s body) and not one drop of wine (Christ’s blood) are left behind. The priest consumes the last drops of wine, and uses purifiers (clean cloths) to wipe out the vessels. We can think of the fragments in this gospel when we watch the priest carefully take care of the vessels at mass.
One example of the sacred act of communion occured one day in mass when a child dropped the Eucharist (body of Christ) as he went up for communion. The priest stopped everything and bent down to kiss the floor where the body of Christ had landed.
Another situation was a young man who going to take communion and some of the wine (blood of Christ) spilled onto the floor. The young man bent down on the floor and sipped up the precious blood (wine transformed during the consecration prayer). The whole church stopped and gasped at the act of his mouth touching to the floor to the embarrassment of his mother who asked what he was doing. “Mom, it’s the blood of Christ!” He explained. He truly understood the sacred act of consecration; the bread and wine becoming the actual body and blood of Christ at mass (John 6:46-71). Like in this gospel, people are still talking about how that young man reacted today, and it took place almost 20 years ago. Everyone notices what miracles happen after the fact, when the graces come. Again, when we over-use our sense of intellect, we miss the bigger picture. We need to have child-like wonder to ponder the mysteries of God. Only then will our hearts be pure enough to be open to the miraculous ways He loves us.
After the gospel reflection we discuss a “case” or situation in the world that we examine through the eyes of faith.
Being Saved by a Homeless Man
It was late and dark. She was young and alone when her car ran out of gas on a dark road late at night. The circumstances seemed dangerous and threatening. He came seemingly out of no where, and noticing her situation, he told her to lock the doors and he would be back. He returned shortly after with a red canister of gasoline, purchased with the very last money he had in the world. Twenty dollars. He was homeless and had quite a history, but she didn’t know all of that yet. Once she was safe and back home, she made sure to track him down and was determined to pay him back. She didn’t know what kind of a person he was and that didn’t matter to her. All that mattered was that this someone gave everything he had in the world to help her.
At first she bought him cereal bars, gift cards and bottled water, which he immediately opened and shared with his other homeless friends. Over time their friendship grew, and she saw in him a heart of pure sacrifice; only affirmed by his history of service to his country in which he became injured. She couldn’t show the amount of gratitude she felt herself, so she invited anyone and everyone to pitch in on a go-fund-me account to help him. 14,000 People. 27 days. $400,000. It was a miracle. He was able to buy a home, a used car, and help everyone he knew with their own financial burdens. In this beautiful story, there is no victim and no crime. Only love, sacrifice and gratitude.
Theological Virtue: Charity
Human Virtue: Justice
How to Pray: Ask the Holy Spirit to help us see what others need and what we can do to help.
How to Act: Keep things in our car for the homeless like water bottles, protein bars, band-aids, change, toothbrushes; to make care packages for homeless people or someone on the street.
Join us in our “resolutions” this week and comment on how the experience helped you grow in virtue!