Devotional Thoughts for 4th Sunday after Pentecost - 8th June 08
- Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Matthew 14: 14-23
Dear and Respected Brethren,
Today's reading tells us about one incident when and where our Lord did His feeding mission along with the healing and teaching missions. The first verse of today's reading states: "And Jesus went forth and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick". The Psalmist addressed Lord Almighty as God of compassion. (Psalms 86: 15) In Psalms 145: 8 we find, "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of great mercy". In St. Mark 1:41 we read, "And Jesus moved with compassion, put forth his hand and touched him and said unto him, I will: you be clean." When our Lord was reminded by the Apostles about long stay of the multitude with our Lord, He ordered not to send them away before feeding them. He said "they need not depart, you give them to eat." Our Lord is still telling us to do the same. Do we hear His instructions or we pretend that nothing has come to ears?
In the Morning prayers our Church Fathers have arranged a very beautiful prayer. It says: "Lord, kindly bless the 12 months of the year with the prayers and supplications of the 12 Apostles. Kindly allow to have the rains and sunshine in the pre-fixed timings and enable us to enjoy the heavenly blessings in abundance. Lord let there be more fruits, so that the orphans, destitute and the poor might praise thee after having enough and more for them. Kindly let us have rains and showers of heavenly blessings in time." Feeding the needy and the poor was considered as a responsibility of each and every Christian since long. In our prayers during the Lenten season,
there are many exhortations throughout to care the poor and orphans.
The Apostles were quite sure that the five loaves of bread and two fishes were too inadequate to feed a great multitude in the usual human conception. Still they told their Lord with full hope that they had five loaves of bread and two fishes. Our Lord asked them to present what they had with them. In our Church life we come across so many needs of different natures. But often we think that we are holding or possessing very little of the total need. This portion of the Holy Scripture makes us think that there is no need to worry about what we have. When the Holy Church or the Church Fathers propose
some or other need, we must submit what we have with us. The readiness of the mind and quickness in the submission is the most important matter in this aspect.
In Verse 19 we read, and he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass and took five loaves of bread and two fishes and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke, and gave the loaves to his disciples and the disciples to the multitude." This is the route of God's mercy flowing through the clergy and the Holy Church to the ordinary laity. No one in between is supposed to hinder the flow or to hoard some or occupy some for his own sake and so on. When resources of different natures would reach us, we must send them to the multitude for their use and satisfaction. Selfishness prompts the modern man to hoard some instead of distributing to the public. Root cause of each and
every problem is the selfishness of a few. Now a days the majority of the developing countries are facing the acute shortage of food items.
Politicians all over the world are only interested in the wars of words. Why our Lord ask the multitude to sit in lines? We should not forget the truth that where there is discipline, there is the grace of God. If the multitude had behaved as undisciplined, the net result would have been something else. Let us pray earnestly, "Lord! kindly take us in your arms, bless us, break us and serve for the benefit of the multitude. '
In Verse 20 we read, and they did all eat and were filled. We are sure how our forefathers enjoyed the food. They were having the local food only but still they had enjoyed the food whatever it might be. The modern man could eat anything he likes. But usually he will not get the satisfaction. If one has to attain satisfaction from the food, he or she has to believe that the food is a gift from God and hence he or she has to praise God for the mercy. If one does so, he or she will get the good satisfaction. Modern man runs after the most modern facilities and consider that everything gained is his or her merit or benefit of the hard work. This is absolutely wrong. We must
try to find God's plan, God's mind and God's care in everything small and big we enjoy everyday.
May God bless us all
Jose Kurian Puliyeril.