LATIN MASS- Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Jul 18, 2017
This Gospel from St. Mark paints Jesus among a needy crowd. They could not feed themselves or each other. They could not heal themselves or each other. Jesus was moved with pity and was ready to provide them with all they needed. The Apostles wanted to send them away to fend for themselves.
And this for us hits upon this grain of truth. Though this story is about a truly supernatural miraculous action, it is not about God creating something out of nothing. Our Lord says to the Apostles, Give them something to eat yourselves." The Apostles must have thought, " You have got to be joking! We only have enough bread and fish here to serve a scant appetizer for ourselves, never mind the crowd, Jesus!" However, the Apostles sheepishly complied when Jesus ordered that they surrender their scanty food supply. He blessed their meager offering and the miracle happened. It was not only enough, but after thousands had eaten their fill, there were seven baskets of fragments remaining.
It never ceases to amaze me at how much energy we put into making excuses. "I don't even earn enough to fee my own family, how can I be expected to give? The cultural war seems to be occurring on multiple fronts; family, marriage, sexuality, life issues, religious freedom, schools, church attendance, the rise of secularism and atheism, and the lack of personal responsibility and self-control. The list could go on and on. It is not difficult to demonstrate that the disrepair in our culture is enormous. The task of evangelizing our culture may seem far more difficult that we can handle. However, we must remember, Our Lord told us that if we work with Him anything is possible even when we know how the world is diving into an increasingly bad state. The problems seem overwhelming and our resources seem so limited to turn back the tide. What can we do Lord with only a few loaves and some fish? Jesus simply says to us as He did the Apostles. "Bring them to Me." A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The conversion of the whole world begins with me. As we look at the huge problems before us, we must assess our individual loaves and fish so to speak.
We can work on our own conversions. A holier world starts with us. If we become holier, the world becomes holier. We can pick up the phone and call a family member who we know is hurting. You can simply love your spouse and children helping them to know the Lord and to seek His Kingdom. With love we can rebuke sin and encourage the righteous. If I am a priest or religious, I can faithfully live out my vocation and heroically call others to Christ by teaching and proclaiming the Gospel without compromise. If I am young, I can seek to prepare myself devoutly for a vocation to marriage, the priesthood, or religious life. If I am older, I can seek to show wisdom by providing a good example to the young. If I am elderly, I can seek to prepare myself for death devoutly and to display the desire for heaven. I should pray for this world and attend Mass faithfully, begging God's mercy for myself and for the world. The conversion of the whole world begins with me, with my meager loaves and fishes.
Folks, our financial resources, talents, and holiness are clearly inadequate to meet the needs of a hungry and confused world. But, what else is new? The Gospel commands us to offer these resources anyway, trusting that Jesus will multiply them. Who could have guessed how much God would multiply the loaves and the fishers offered by an Albanian Sister named Teresa when she walked into the slums of Calcutta? Imagine if Peter had not reconsidered after saying, "Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." Imagine if the Apostles had saved the loaves and fish for themselves instead of giving them away to a crowd that they thought would not be satisfied with them anyway!
But, you may protest, Father, isn't this miracle story about the Eucharist? Absolutely! In the Eucharist we bring the very ordinary work of our hands, bread and wine, and join them to the offering or our very ordinary lives. Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, our offering today will be transformed once more into the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ, the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation!
We offer Our Lord the work of our hands and our broken humanity and Our Lord transforms these things into something that can change the world around us. This transformation, this multiplication, is a supernatural marvel that is the source of other marvels. In fact, if we could seek to unpack just a fraction more of the miraculous power contained in the Eucharist, the Catholic Church and the world would be forever different. If we would offer what the Lord has given us back to Him in gratitude, what a different place this world would be!!!