by: Jose Puliyeril Kurian
Devotional thoughts for 6th Sunday after Pentecost
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 15: 32-39
Today also we listen to an experience almost similar to the one we heard on last Sunday. Here our Lord made use of the seven loaves of bread and a few small fishes, which were with the Apostles to satisfy about 4000+ men and almost similar number of women and children. In verse 32 we read about our Lord's remarks: "I have compassion on the multitude because they continue with me now three days and they have nothing to eat. I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way". The uniqueness of today's miracle is that the initiative came from our Lord first. We might use the term kindness in the place of compassion. The word used in the Malayalam translation (Manassalivu) is very proper and super (as it means sharing of the melted mind to someone).
The Psalmist tells: ""But thou O Lord, you are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalms 86:15) "Like a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear him" (Psalms 103: 13) In fact are these verses the prophecies about our Lord Jesus Christ, our savior? The entire world came to know that God is Love only after the blessed incarnation of our redeemer. We find another instance where we could see the compassion of our Lord is in St. Mark 1:41. St. Paul confirms it that our Lord is compassionate not only to those who fear him or honor him, but also to the entire sinners. (Hebrews 2:17, 4:15, 5:2)
We all also might justify the question of the Apostles, "From where we should have so much bread in the wilderness." Such an occasion might create an impression of a crisis in us also realizing that if we are in the place of the Apostles. In such a situation, the responsible and the concerned persons would get upset and worried. We come across with one or two instances in the Old Testament. Kindly read Numbers 11:21-22, 2 Kings 4:43. When the Apostles expressed their pitiful condition to their Master, our Lord responded, "How many loaves you have"? We might suspect the reason for such a question, as we are sure that our Lord and the Apostles had spent their time together always, at the time of food and rest. Our Lord was sure about what they had. The Apostles faced the challenge though they were uncertain about from where they could have and how they could have for such a multitude.
Our Lord is teaching a great lesson here. It is very significant and relevant for us also. We might also face such challenges in our personal lives, our Parish lives or Church lives. We should not get worried if the resources are not enough for the complete solution of the problem. We must look for what all we could collect or how much we could collect. Even if the resources in our hands were inadequate, it would be increased, as and when they are submitted to the mighty God. When God would bless them, it would be enough and more to solve all the problems in faced by us. The disciples were quite sure that the seven loaves of bread was quite insufficient to feed the multitude. Still they had the faith in our Lord and His glorious power. That is why they said "we have seven loaves of bread" and they submitted to the mighty alms of our Lord. We are obliged to follow the great example and admirable act of the blessed Apostles.
Kindly make a note of the fact that the multitude, which ate the bread and fishes blessed by our Lord got satisfied. We cannot deny the truth that we do not get the entire satisfaction after meals of different tastes and qualities. Have we searched why we are not getting satisfaction? It is a truth that when we would depend the selfish motives and interests, other than the blessing of our Lord God, we lose the satisfaction. So let us practice praising God for the gifts and services, before and after every meal. Make it a point that if we could remember God Almighty and praise Him for the gift, before and after each meal, it would grant us miraculous effect of satisfaction.
We read that the left over broken bread was filled in seven baskets. The number '7' is significant and important. It teaches that the blessing we get from the heavenly bread on the first day of the week must remain in us as a blessing for the 7 days of the week (From Sunday to Sunday) When the celebrant disperses the congregation after the Holy Eucharist, he wishes, "You depart in peace with the needy food for the journey". In Christian thinking the life of a faithful is often compared to a journey to the Lord God or a pilgrimage. The number 7 is very important for us for many reasons. The days of the week are 7. The Holy Sacraments, which are the visible symbols of the invisible graces of God, are mainly 7. The first ordination in the Holy Church was granted to 7 Deacons. There are 7 steps of ordination of a faithful till priest.
How many graces and blessings are bestowed on us in our everyday lives? Do we find time to think about it? Are we not supposed to live according to the will of God, when we might get more and more blessings? Let us try to lead a virtuous life in accordance with the teaching of our Lord, conveyed to us through the Holy church. May God bless us all.
Jesus feeds the Four Thousand by Rev. Fr. Abraham Thomas
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