Saturday, July 28, 2012

To Eat

To Eat

July 29, 2012
Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2012 B
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ
A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God, twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits, and fresh grain in the ear.  Elisha said, "Give it to the people to eat."  But his servant objected, "How can I set this before a hundred people?"  Elisha insisted, "Give it to the people to eat."  "For thus says the LORD, 'They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'"  And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said.  2 Kings 4:42-44
I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call.  Ephesians 4:1-4
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.  John 6:8-11


Piety is a process. It is being fed, feeding and searching out Christ in all that we do. Christ gave us his love before we were born. He came to us by our baptism to dwell with us as long as we live. He grows in his presence in us by our sharing Eucharist. He comes to us even as we come to him by Eucharist. We give away Christ to be fed by Christ. He comes to our emptiness. He gives himself to our family and friends by our good actions. Piety is Christ alive in us by what we are saying and doing. Only our emptiness is big enough for Christ.  He comes to us by our need of others and identifies with us so that what others do for us they can do for Christ. The miracle of Eucharist is love expressed by what we do for others. Christ is as big as our love of one another. He would become us so that we would know how to be one with God in our oneness with Christ.


The multiplication of the loaves and fishes sets us up for believing in the possibility of Eucharist. When Christ challenges his apostles to believe in his being able to give of his body and blood to eat and to drink he loses some of his disciples because they are repelled by the thought of having Christ as the food of life. That God could love us so much that he would want to be one of us challenges us to love God so much that we would be willing to be all Jesus to our world. It is not too hard to say that when you see me you see Christ. It is how we see Christ in ourselves that makes it possible to give Christ by being ourselves in his name. We thus live in a manner worthy of the call of Christ. Humility and gentleness is the ticket to heaven.  We bear with one another by love. We learn through love to preserve the unity of the spirit. Our call is to one Lord, one faith and one baptism. Christ brings us to his Father. We learn by studying how to stay with the Father.


We go out of our way to put the best possible interpretation on what others say and do. We open up our hearts to be generous in our giving to their needs. The miracle of the loaves and the fishes teaches us to give beyond our means. It is thus we discover how God can fill up the difference between what we do and what is needed. God inspires others to step into our task when we invite him to make up the difference between what we do and what needs doing. Impossible tasks become our specialty because we enjoy seeing what God accomplishes when we invite him to use our weaknesses. The multiplication of the loaves and the fishes is our template and we embark on tasks that are impossible without the help of God. When our task is accomplished, it behooves us like Christ to go apart and to thank God for making the impossible possible to us by our dependence on the Lord. 

No comments: