Thursday, April 23, 2009

If It Comes from God

April 24, 2009

Friday of the Second Week of Easter

By Melanie Rigney

(The Pharisee named Gamaliel told the Sanhedrin about the Apostles,) “… (H)ave nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him. After recalling the Apostles, (the Sanhedrin) had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. (Acts 5:38-41)

The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom am I afraid? (Psalms 27:1)

When Jesus raised his eyes and saw 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.” (John 6:5-7)

Jesus, help me to live my faith in you large and with utter confidence.

A couple years ago, I hosted a home Mass. I was worried, because I’d cut up enough pita bread for twelve people to have Communion and we’d ended up with sixteen. When the priest approached me to begin sharing the Eucharist, I said as softly as I could, “Leave me until last. I’m afraid there won’t be enough.”

He looked like he wanted to burst into laughter. “Don’t worry. I’ve done this before,” he said loudly.

“Oh puh-leese!” I hissed. “Just let me be Martha. Leave me till the end.”

For some of us, that need to make sure there’s enough for everyone starts at the dinner table when unexpected guests arrive. “FHB,” we might say to our siblings or our kids, shorthand for “family hold back in case we run short of chicken breasts, doughnuts, or cake.”

That type of reserve might be appropriate at the dinner table, but not when it comes to having confidence in God. In today’s Gospel reading, Philip despairs that even with more than half a year’s wages, there wouldn’t be enough money to provide everyone in the crowd with a bit of food. Andrew despairs the little good a boy’s five barley loaves and two fish could do. And yet, fully confident in his Father, Jesus offers up the loaves and fish ... and all are fed and leftovers have to be gathered.

And when we are fed in confidence and know the Lord will provide refuge, we can do anything. In the first reading, the Pharisee Gamaliel warns the Sanhedrin if the apostles’ endeavor comes from God, “you will not be able to destroy them” and urges them to use caution. The Sanhedrin settle for flogging rather than killing the apostles, who rejoice in their suffering and go on teaching. Now that’s faith.

As for that Mass at my home, there was enough to go around at Communion—exactly enough. Funny how that happened.


Today, identify one situation, large or small, in which you find it difficult to trust in God. Offer it up in prayer, and show the confidence of the apostles as you face down your concern.

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