Devotional Thoughts for 6th Sunday after Pentecost -22nd June 08
- Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Matthew 15:32-39
Dear and Respected Brethren,
In today's reading we find our Lord taking the initiative to feed the
multitude, who had been staying with Him for about three days. Our Lord says "I have compassion on the multitude." Compassion is a Godly nature and if God is not present in a human being, no one could expect compassion from such a person. The Psalmist often declares that God is compassionate. In Psalms 86:15 we read, "But thou O Lord, art a God full of compassion and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth". Again in Psalms 111: 4 we read, "He has made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion."
Our Lord again says "I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way." This is the love and concern of our Lord God. It is His concern about his creation. Our Lord's commandment is to love our brethren as we might love ourselves. The best way to express love to some one is to feed him and serve him/her with food.
When the disciples heard our Lord, they too thought as we might think often. They even asked our Lord "From where we have so much bread in the wilderness?" Our Lord's answer to this question was another question and the same is so thought provoking. Our Lord asked "how many loaves you have". In our daily lives we come across so many people who are in hungry for days together. It is a fact that many of us are helping the orphanages/old age homes with substantial financial support and assistance of different natures. We feel that our duty and responsibility towards the poor and needy would be over when we might spend a share of the tithe. We should not forsake the question of our Lord "how many loaves of bread you have?" In the
contemporary world, many are wasting food and food items without reason. In our Lenten prayers we are exhorted to go after the poor and needy to feed them rather than waiting in our houses to feed them when such might visit us. When we might recite these prayers, are we serious about what we are praying? I know many of us are donating to the orphanages and the old aged homes to give feast to the inmates on occasions of the birthdays of our kids. It is really good and at the same time, if we could be present there physically and to have food with the destitute, it would be great.
The answer of the Apostles was spontaneous. They said we have seven loaves and a few small fishes. We all are clever enough to donate anything which is not ideal and suitable for us. Suppose one is donating food. He/She might donate the food which is not liked by the inmates of the house. Or if they are donating some clothes, they might give the ones which are refused by the inmates of their dwelling. God Almighty is quite sure what we have and what
is held by us. We should not try to make God a fool. God wants to share what is liked by us or what is ideal for us or what could be used by us. When our Lord asked the Apostles "how many loaves you have", he was so sure what they had. Still He wanted to hear from the custodian. We are all custodians his wealth and treasures.
When we would react to God's call honestly, positively and instantaneously, there will have the miracle of God. We could see so many institutions among us which are supposed to uplift the poor and needy. But many are not flourishing and remaining in the initial stage. The financial aids for all sorts of humanitarian providences must be taken from the ones with sincere hearts. In verse 35 we read, "He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground". And they sat in lines on the ground. This is the basic lesson of discipline. If there is no discipline, God would not be pleased to do what God has to do. The people who might turn as instrumentals for the
indiscipline in the Church must bear in mind that only because of them; God is getting away from doing what He has to do. If we want more blessings and graces from God, we all must be well disciplined.
Our Lord took the loaves and the fishes in His hand and gave thanks to God Almighty. We all are supposed to say a prayer before and after each meal. How many of us so particular to say the prayer at each time of our meals? Our Lord broke it and gave to his disciples and the disciples gave to the multitude. During the Holy Eucharist, the same thing is happening. When the celebrant is lifting up the Holy mysteries for giving praise to Lord God and to break them, all such acts are completed by the Holy Spirit. The celebrant repeats our Lord's verses and continues the Holy Eucharist.
Verse 37 certifies that they ate and they were filled. They had a rare sort of satisfaction. The modern man runs after the different types of meals everyday, still he is not satisfied. When the food is filled with the blessings of God Almighty, not even a consumer will get the required satisfaction. When we would take any food at any time and at any place, make sure that we take them only after having enough and more blessings from God Almighty.
The left over was seven baskets full. What does it signify? When our Lord blessed the ordinary food, it was multiplied enough for the entire week. Let us also submit what we have sincerely, honestly and immediately after the call.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril