Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Luke 9: 10-17
Dear and Respected Brethren,
In the first sentence of today's reading, we find the Apostles giving report of their mission work to their Master in a thrilling and enthusiastic mood. Here it is said that they told him all that they had done. In St. Mark 6: 30 it is mentioned that they had told him what they did and what they taught. Our Lord had a plan to move to a desert place in Beth-Saida to spend some time privately with His beloved disciples. But by the time the people came to know that our Lord and His blessed Apostles have moved to the desert place, they too followed them, as they all were in bad needs of Him. Are we
also exactly same like those people? We also follow Jesus and we are willing to spend more time with Him, when we are in unavoidable needs. If we don't have enough needs we might get back from 'following' Him. St. Luke wisely uses the term 'followed'. The literal meaning of the term follow is to come or go after a person or a moving thing. When you and I will say that we are followers of Christ, we must feel the presence of our Lord and God Jesus Christ in front of us. We must feel that we are putting our step as He is
putting and we are moving as He is moving. The follower must have the same desires and ambitions of the person who is leading them. Let us try to follow our Savior in the true spirits.
When the people followed our Lord, He changed all that was in his mind and started to care the ones who followed him. Our Lord spoke to them about the Kingdom of God and healed all that had need of healing. These days most of us need healing for our minds than our bodies. Many of us are in need of peace and comfort. But usually we carry the burdens in our minds without offloading at His feet. He is willing to off load them from our minds and to grant us peace and comfort. Let us try to find out the reason why we are not seeking internal peace and freedom. The main reason for such a poor condition is that we are not trying ourselves to attain freedom from the bondage of sins and Satan. Are we not satisfied in remaining in the bondage of sins, though we speak in long tongues about the freedom and liberty? Each and every individual has to initiate the freedom fight. God is anxious to help each and everyone.
When the twelve Apostles told our Lord about the need to send back the
people to their dwellings, our Lord entrusted them to feed the people. In Verse 13 we read, "But he said unto them, you give them to eat". If we were in their place, we would not have told "we have no more but five loaves and two fishes". We often think and believe that we are so clever and smart and such a feeling might have had kept us mum about the five loaves and two fishes. Our Lord's response was very simple. He asked them to make them sit in fifties in a company. And the Apostles did what their master asked them. Our Lord took the bread and fishes in his hands, blessed them, broke them and handed over to the Apostles to serve the multitude.
Here we are reminded about our offertory before God. The quantity or the size is not the important factor, where as our mind is important. When we submit something to our Lord God, we must have the faith in God and we must submit with our full mind of happiness and thrifty.
In verse 17 we read, "And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets." The number of baskets is so significant. This identifies to the number of twelve Apostles and the twelve months of an year. We could realize that each Apostle had received a basket full of remains of the bread, so that during their mission works they could feed the poor and needy. We have to realize food as a gift of God. When one will have excess food, he should not waste it, instead, he has to go after the poor, downtrodden, orphans and destitute and feed them.
Feeding of the poor and needy is one of the great mission works of
Christianity. The Lents are arranged in the Holy Church to teach the
faithful the need of sharing the food with the poor and needy. If one will not fast he or she will not come to know the pain of the poor and needy. We are supposed to be the custodians of the gifts of God and to share among all that are in need.
Our Lord was so particular to feed all that had followed Him. Unfortunately two incidents are marked in the Holy Scriptures. That doesn't mean that our Lord had fed only two times. Feeding the followers might have been a regular practice during His entire public Mission. So let us try to follow our Lord and Savior in feeding the poor and needy.
May God bless us all
Jose Kurian Puliyeril