Friday, February 04, 2011

All That is Good

February 5, 2011
Memorial of Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever (and ever). Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:33-34

The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.
You set a table before me as my enemies watch; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. (Psalm 23)

We really don’t know what it means to hunger. We may occasionally comment “I’m hungry.” Or “It’s time to eat.” But the people like you who are reading this – with Internet access, a car (or three) in the driveway, a roof over your head, and a closet filled with enough clothes for three people – do not really know hunger.

Today, St. Mark comments that “People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.” I’m not sure who “they” means. Does St. Mark mean that “the people” were coming to Jesus and skipping meals because Jesus fulfilled their every need, as mentioned in the closing passage of the letter to the Hebrews? These people truly hungered for the Word, for Jesus, this wandering wondering preacher. Like the good shepherd that He is, Jesus satisfies their spiritual hunger.

Or does St. Mark mean that the disciples were so busy helping Jesus minister to the crowds that they did not even have time to eat? Is that why they wanted a break, to go away to a deserted place and rest for a while? Were they so busy that they needed to refresh and recharge their batteries?

The ambiguity is fine…I think the passage prompts me to reflect either way on what it truly means to hunger for something and how Jesus is the way to satisfy true hunger.

Today, as you watch the stories about the unfolding events in Egypt, I ask you to remember the children of Egypt (and around the world), especially those who are poor and living in obscure neighborhoods like Giza, or Imbaba or elsewhere. While the political and economic winds swirl around them, the stores are closed and they may not know from where their next meal will come. Consider supporting organizations like Coptic Orphans, Food for the Poor and others who work to help meet their basic needs.