by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
8th Sunday after Pentecost
Gospel Reading: St. Mark 8:1-10
In today's reading we find the incident which we have meditated two weeks back. In the first sentence of today's reading we listen "In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him and said unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days and have nothing to eat". Here our Lord is taking care and the initiative to feed the multitude. (It is not recorded that they were murmuring or shouting for their food. They did not agitate or make a disturbance. We must watch them carefully and see what they were doing. They were learning about the Kingdom of God and they were so thrilled for three days together. They were not willing to care their worldly basic needs and they were fully engaged in learning the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Let us think what would have been our attitude, if we were in their place. We know what would be our attitude if and when the sermon of a week might prolong for 10 more minutes. Why it is so? When we go to church on Sundays, we plan a lot of things to do immediately after the church service. That is why we could not concentrate on the Holy Eucharist or any other important worship. When the celebrant would exhort us to send our minds to the heavenly place, where our Lord is seated on the right hand side of God the Father, we would send our minds to the places, where we are supposed to go after the service. This is a pity condition. We have to rearrange our priorities.
In the third verse we read, "And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way, for divers of them came from far." Our Lord while teaching them about the kingdom of Heaven, he learned about them too. What they did? They simply came to Lord Jesus to hear and study from Him. Likewise if we would attend the divine services, our good Lord will see us and He will make a note of our needs, without a formal request or supplication. The Pentecostal and sectarian churches are always inviting multitudes from the Episcopal churches saying: "you all will be blessed here, you will get more and more riches". Our Lord is quite sure about our needs. He will grant all our needs without asking him.
Our Lord asked the Disciples how many loaves you have, when they complained: "how a man satisfy these men, with bread here in the wilderness?"
When the disciples told our Lord that they had seven, he collected them with him and blessed, broke and served along with the few small fishes. They all ate and were satisfied. When our Lord taught the only one prayer, He insisted to pray for the daily bread. Our Lord wanted us to have a "come-in-union" (It became communion later) with Lord God on all possible occasions. So He insisted and taught us to pray for the daily bread or to get the bread every day. When we say this prayer in Malayalam, many use the term "Ahaaram" instead of "appam". We should not forget that the ahaaram is for the worldly life and the appam is for the spiritual life. So kindly use "njangalkku aavasyamulla appam innum tharaname".
Our Lord says that He is the bread that came from heaven and differentiates himself with Manna, a sort of bread which was granted to the children of Abraham during the days of their pilgrimage through the wilderness. Our Lord establishes that the heavenly bread is good enough to grant us eternal life.
The Holy Church honors the sacrament of Holy Eucharist as the crown of all sacraments and it is taught that unless and until the Holy Eucharist is administered, all other sacraments would not be complete. Let us examine our usual response to the Holy Eucharist. Let us analyze how far we are trustworthy to the divine blessing. May God bless us to make use of the heavenly bread always.
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