Monday of the 18th Week of the Year

Matt 14:13-21

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

When Peter felt threatened by the storm and the big waves, his faith faltered. Jesus censured him for his weakness: “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Don’t we tend to act very much the same? Isn’t it true that when everything is going well for us, more often than not we forget God? But just as some strong wind, some big problem arises – a grave illness that strikes us, the sudden death of a loved one or a natural calamity like an earthquake, then we get scared ; we trun to God.

Fr. Albert Cylwicki in his book His Word Resounds writes: “As long as Peter kept his focus on the Lord, all went well. As soon as he forgot about Jesus and worried about the wind, he began to sink. Perhaps this is what faith means: keeping our focus on the Lord regardless of the turmoil around us.” (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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If you want to have a party without spending much for food all you have to do is announce a “potluck” party. This means, each one brings his/her own provisions to share with others. In a potluck gathering everybody gets more than enough food to eat. And surprisingly, in such a party there remains plenty of leftovers.

Bible scholars tend to believe that the multiplication of loaves in the story of Jesus was nothing but big potluck phenomenon. In other words, bread kept on multiplying inside a basket while being distributed to thousands of people. It was simply a miracle of people who, have seen Christ bless and share the five loaves and two fish, started to open and share their provisions with others. Many people do not like this explanation of the multiplication of bread, because accordingly it waters down the miracle of Jesus. Personally, I believe and find more meaning in the potluck explanation. Here are some reasons: 1. The people who decided to go to that “lonely place” where Jesus and his disciples were must have provided provisions for their journey. When Pinoy families make a pilgrimage to a nearby Antipolo their jeepneys are usually half-filled with provision. 2. It was not unusual for Jesus to make use of human contribution every time he performed miracles, in this case, he used “five loaves and two fish.” 3. In the potluck explanation a more wonderful thing happened than the alleviation of stomach hunger, that is, there was change of heart in a great number of men/women, a change of attitude towards others, there was an openness to welcome others into one’s heart. Is not that greater miracle? 4. The presence of Jesus made all the difference. When Jesus is present the spirit of sharing, of abundance, of miracles, reigns.

Would you like to have a life of adventure with Jesus? You need only to invite Him into your life. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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John Wesley’s rule of life was to save all he could and give all he could. When he was at Oxford, he had an income of 30 dollars a year. He lived on 28 dollars and gave 2 dollars away. When his income increased to 60, 100 and 120 a year, he still lived on 28 dollars and gave the balance away. The Accountant General for Household Silverware demanded of him a report of his silverware. His replay was: “I have two silver teaspoons in London and two at Bristol. That is all the silverware I have at present and I shall not buy anymore while so many around me want bread.”

The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves is a miracle of compassion and generosity. However compassion and generosity also proceed from another miracle: the miracle of realizing that one has enough to live by, like John Wesley, like Christ the “Son who had nowhere to His head” but whose compassionate touch and solicitous words turned everything into a miracle.

Sad to say, having enough is not in the vocabulary of today’s consumerist lifestyle. More is. Greed is. Today’s generosity is sometimes tame and lame, because it doesn’t hurt so much unlike Philip’s gamble: “Five loaves and two fish are ALL we have here.” (Fr. GdP, SVD, Bible Diary 2006)

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As part of our formation program I and a seminarian-companion spent time with the Aetas in a relocation site after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The Aetas taught us concretely a very significant lesson. Joining them gather firewood in the mountain, we came upon a guava tree and out of impulse I and my seminarian-companion started to pick the ripe fruits taking as many as we could. But one Aeta signaled to us below telling us to pick only what is enough for us and avoid taking excess supply. Amazed by such a reprimand, we asked why when there were so many ripe fruits. The Aeta plainly told us that after us there will still be others who will pass by that area and they too deserve a share of the fruits. We were speechless in shame because, of all people, the Aetas taught us a valuable lesson on generosity.

Out of five loaves and two generously shared, Jesus performed s miracle. “All eat and satisfied.” The meeting of the human and divine made the miracle possible.

Of only each of us put emphasis on the value of generosity, of being in solidarity with those deprived economically, I don’t think somebody will roam the streets with an empty stomach begging for food.

Just try to imagine how many fragments of leftover can be collected if each one practices the value of sharing and generosity. (Fr. Jun Javines, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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“When you want to eat good food, go to the Filipinos.”This feedback from a German reflects the reality of our culinary identity. Food and meal for us have a social and dialogical dimension. There is sharing, there is solidarity, there is joy. It is not only about the food, but more so, the spirit of the banquet. Our salu-salo or pot luck, is an expression of our generosity and effort to get in touch with others. Our meal-celebrations involve the whole community, the extended family. We bring in food, help in the cooking, clean the kitchen. There is a whole family structure at work in big events like fiesta, weddings or even funeral.

The miracle of the multiplication of the bread and fish in today’s gospel is concretized every time we gather together to share the little we have with others. We share not only our resources but also our time and our presence. We share not only the food together but also our very lives – our experiences, hopes, dreams, problems and trials.

There will be enough food for all, even in the world, when we learn to share with others. The solution to hunger and poverty is charitable and just sharing. This is a great challenge not only for the progressing countries, but also for the developing ones. “Give them some food yourselves” is Jesus’ way of telling us to reach out to those who are poor, hungry and underprivileged.

Our positive Filipino value of sharing food and blessings should outshine our negative traits, like talangka (crab) mentality and tsismis (gossip). Let us spread the Pinoy goodness and minimize our negative habits. Let us, even in our, little way be proud of our Pinoy and Christian Values and be a people ready to give, share and care. Remember: “A joy shared is a joy multiplied; a problem shared, is a problem divided.” (Fr. Adonis Narcelles, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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August 1, 2016 Monday

I got invited one afternoon to the birthday party of a relative in Canlubang, Laguna. Seeing so many friends around, I thought the food wouldn’t be enough. But she smiled saying, “The Lord will provide – just wait, we’ll surely have extra food for you to take home.” And yes indeed, I didn’t go home empty-handed. Trusting HIM has a significant role in our lives.

And speaking of food, what is enough to satisfy our deepest hunger or longing in life? People from all walks of life followed Jesus not only to touch his “cloak” and be healed, or listen to him to receive the blessings but to ask for more of that “heavenly bread.” We who long to receive that food have a similar experience. And Jesus never disappoints us if we persevere. By virtue of His promise, He will never abandon us or leave us orphaned. He supplied crowd with enough food for everyone.

Until now, the multiplication of bread continues through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

We are all invited to eat this bread from heaven. By our giving and sharing of what we have to the needy, we offer the greatest miracle that we can show to Jesus. Christ is able to feed the multitudes through us in a way that goes far beyond what we can comprehend. Christ can take the gift of our lives to touch the lives of many. Our gift ceases to be natural and becomes supernatural. Let us offer more loaves of bread and more share in prayer and allow God’s grace to transform our lives. (Fr. Jun C. Pateño, SVD | U.S.A. Bible 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/805-august-1-2016-monday

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MIRACLES: CHANGE OF HEART (Matt 14:13-21): Everybody has the capacity to have a change of heart. If you look at the gospel account from the point of view, then the feeding of the 5,000 can still happen in this country.

According to scientists, there are only seven billion people all over the world. The world’s resources are capable of feeding 35 billion people. How do you explain the hunger around us? How do you explain the misery that people go through! How do you explain the death of children and infants from malnutrition? Do we need another miracle of feeding 5,000 people?

The Lord showed us the example. He took out five loaves of bread and a couple of fish, and the hearts of people were touched. They brought out their own loaves, they brought out their own fish. It was not a multiplication of fish and loaves. It was only having heart changed: from selfishness to selflessness.

Miracles can still happen. The first miracle that is essential is the miracle in your heart. If you will only realize that you also have five loaves of bread and a couple of fish, and if others will do likewise, we will not only be able to feed 5,000 people. We will be able to feed seven billion people. Let miracles happen and let that miracle begin in your heart. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus, Always Jesus p. 177)

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The Good News today highlights two sides of the character of Jesus:

  • Jesus’ humanity; vulnerability. The evangelist writes that when Jesus heard about the bloody death of His cousin John the Baptist, he withdrew to a place by himself. Probably, he needed time to mourn for His cousin who was a contemporary of his. They were born only six months apart! Probably he also needed to reflect about the prospects of his own mission. Whatever it was, like a true human being, Jesus was affected by the tragic death of a relative, a friend, a co-worker in the mission for the Father’s Kingdom.
  • Jesus’ transcendence. Jesus, however, did not allow His own personal feelings to disturb His mission. He saw the need – the greater need – of the crowd. He rose in compassion to address the need of the crowd for material and spiritual bread.

We can further glean that it was Jesus’ experience of vulnerability and humanity that enabled him to respond with transcendence and hope. His heart went out to others because he was able to genuinely empathize with them (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday, p. 236)

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The Good News today highlights two sides of the character of Jesus:

Jesus’ humanity; vulnerability. The evangelist writes that when Jesus heard about the bloody death of His cousin John the Baptist, he withdrew to a place by himself. Probably, he needed time to mourn for His cousin who was a contemporary of his. They were born only six months apart! Probably he also needed to reflect about the prospects of his own mission. Whatever it was, like a true human being, Jesus was affected by the tragic death of a relative, a friend, a co-worker in the mission for the Father’s Kingdom.

Jesus’ transcendence. Jesus, however, did not allow His own personal feelings to disturb His mission. He saw the need – the greater need – of the crowd. He rose in compassion to address the need of the crowd for material and spiritual bread.

We can further glean that it was Jesus’ experience of vulnerability and humanity that enabled him to respond with transcendence and hope. His heart went out to others because he was able to genuinely empathize with them (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday, p. 236)

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The miracles happened because of the compassion of Jesus for the people. When Jesus saw the people, he also saw their needs. And Jesus attended to their needs. He healed their sick. Yet he wanted to give more, to do more for them. So, Jesus wanted to feed them. Jesus wanted to satisfy their bodily and spiritual hungers.

But this compassion was met with indifference by His disciples. They even suggested to Jesus, “to send these people away!” Yet Jesus told them to be the one to serve and give them their needs. He said to them, “you give them something to eat.” In other words, Jesus taught them and us that there is no excuse for not of being of service to them or for not being of help. It does not mean that we can only help if we have something to give. If we don’t have, we have to pass on to someone our chance and responsibility to help those who are in need.

So Jesus called us to do two things: First is we are called to share. Jesus taught us that sympathy is not enough as well as pity. What we need is acts of mercy. Deeds of charity are most required.

In an interview published Sunday in part in the Argentine weekly Viva, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one’s life:

  1. “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”
  2. “Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”
  3. “Proceed calmly” in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life.
  4. “A healthy sense of leisure.” The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said. “Consumerism has brought us anxiety” and stress, causing people to lose a “healthy culture of leisure.” Their time is “swallowed up” so people can’t share it with anyone. Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it “complicated, but you must do it,” he said. Families must also turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime “doesn’t let you communicate” with each other, the pope said.
  5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.
  6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.
  7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’ “
  8. Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'” the pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”
  9. Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No, each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,” the pope said.
  10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.

And the last one is we are called to surrender what we are and what we have to Jesus. Jesus says, “Bring them to me,” (v. 18). Let us submit ourselves to Jesus. Let us offer ourselves, our time, talent and treasure to Him as well as our talk and tears. Let us rely and depend on him. Jesus is telling us to try God first, to trust God, and not to test God. He only asks us “to bring ourselves to him, to bring what we have to him.”

What miracles in our lives would we like to ask from God?

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Jesus feeds a crowd: The 1984 Christmas issue of Newsweek ran this advertisement asking people to help Ethiopian famine victims:

“Right now giant cargo planes are delivering enough food to feed tens of thousands of hungry people a day…. Here’s how you can help! Your gift of $15 is all it takes to feed a hungry child for a month!…. Please give whatever you can – now!”

The brutal fact is that six million people were starving in 1984 in Ethiopia alone. Unable to do anything for themselves, they could only pray that some “modern Jesus” would reach out to them.

Today’s reading invites us to ask ourselves: What keeps us from helping such people?

Today’s reading invites us to recall these words of Jesus: “‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you?’…. ‘Whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did for me!’” (Mt. 25:37-40). (Mark Link SJ, Illustrated Daily Homilies Weekdays, Bandra, Mumbai: St. Pauls, 2003:163)

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 2, 2015

18th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 03-08-15

Numbers 11:4-15 / Matthew 14:13-21

We often hear this phrase: A hungry person is an angry person.

Quite true, hunger has that ability to diminish our rationale and even contort our spirituality, so much so that we can even end up doing something crazy and stupid.

But being grumpy is another story altogether.

We can be grumpy not because we are hungry, but because we are fussy.

In the 1st reading, we heard how the Israelites began to be grumpy, not because they were hungry but because they were tired of eating manna, day in day out.

And their complaints burdened Moses to the extent that he in turn complained to the Lord.

But what Moses felt about the people’s complaints was a much lesser intensity about how Jesus felt over the execution of John the Baptist.

For Jesus, it was a personal tragedy, it was a time to drop everything and spend some time in great grief.

But when people came to Him with their needs, He put aside His grief and even took pity on them and healed their sick.

Moses was burdened by the people’s complaints. Jesus was grieved over the death of John the Baptist.

We have experienced both kinds of situations before.

How did we react before? And how would we react in the future?

We can continue to complain about our burdens and be grumpy about things that didn’t go right.

Or like Jesus, we will trust in God’s grace to turn burdens into blessings, and help others to do likewise. Posted by Rev Fr Stephen Yim

frstephenyim-weekdays.blogspot.com/2015/08/18th-week-ordinary-time-monday-03-08-15.html

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 THE GIFT OF THE EUCHARIST

When I talked once with a Protestant friend about the multiplication of the loaves and fish, he shared the Protestant interpretation that says it was not a miracle. What happened was when Jesus and His disciples began to share their meager food, the crowd felt embarrassed and began sharing what little they had.

This view defeats the lesson or the story. It was, to them, so important that it is the only miracle we find in all four gospels (even twice in Mark’s Gospel). The words the evangelists chose transport us straight to the Upper Room where Jesus took the bread, blessed, broke it and gave it to His disciples. Jesus foreshadowed the institution of the Eucharist in the Last Supper, which He continues to do every time His disciples all over the world assemble for the “breaking of the bread” in the Eucharistic celebration.

John the evangelist points out a difference in his version of the miracle: The people who ate the multiplied loaves were hungry again the next day, whereas in the multiplied Eucharistic bread, Jesus gives Himself as “bread of life” — a bread that will lead to eternal life because He gave Himself to us, His disciples.

Too many people take the Eucharist for granted. Many believe the Eucharistic bread is only a symbol of Christ. No wonder we often lack reverence when we approach Holy Communion.

If only all Catholics would be conscious that the Eucharistic bread is not just a symbol, but a manifestation of Christ’s actual presence — that the Son of God enters into our unworthy being and that we become living tabernacles after receiving Holy Communion — much would change in their lives for the better.

The Eucharist, therefore, is the greatest treasure we have, the greatest gift God could give us. And remember, “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” Can we ever thank God and Jesus enough for this great gift? Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Are you aware enough of Christ’s real presence during Holy Communion? Do you thank Him enough for uniting Himself with us, poor sinners?

Lord, receiving Holy Communion has become a routine at times. Please forgive me. Thank You for reminding me about the greatest gift — the gift of Yourself to me.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-08-03

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August 3, 2015

Monday of the18th Week in Ordinary Time B

Num 11: 4b-15, Mt 14: 13-21

Five Loaves and Two Fish

Jesus says to the disciples- ‘Give them something to eat yourselves’ The disciples are surprised. How to feed these five thousand people? They express their helplessness, “All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.” He says- Bring them to me. Then the miracle happens.

When a difficult task is given to us we respond with a gasp. How can I do anything? I do not have the strength, the wisdom, the knowledge, the time, the ability…. I am so small – so unimportant. I simply cannot do what God asks. But God acts – and that is always the thing to note first. God blesses the seemingly insignificant supplies from which we can draw. And when God blesses, the extraordinary happens. God is constantly in the business of doing miracles. We marvel when 5000 are feed as though it is somehow unusual in terms of what God does. But in fact, God is doing it every day.

While St Teresa of Avila was starting new convents always she was questioned about the resources. Her response was- It’s true that I have only a few shillings. But a few shillings and Jesus with me Teresa will work miracles. He who has God finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.

Our limited recourses, our limited talents, limited wisdom and knowledge, with His blessings will work wonders.

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2015-08-3

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THE EIGHTEENTH WEEK OF ORDINARILY TIME

1 AUGUST 2016

Eighteenth Monday of of ordinary time

Jer 28: 1-17; Mt 14: 13-21

Five Loaves and Two Fish

Jesus asks the disciples- ‘Give them something to eat yourselves’. The disciples are surprised. How to feed these five thousand people? They express their helplessness, “All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.” He says- ‘Bring them to me’. …Then the miracle happens.

When a difficult task is given to us we respond with a gasp. How can I do anything? I do not have the strength, the wisdom, the knowledge, the time, the ability…. I am so small … so unimportant. I simply cannot do what God asks. But God acts – and that is always the thing to note first. God blesses the seemingly insignificant supplies from which we can draw. And when God blesses, the extraordinary happens. God is constantly in the business of doing miracles. We marvel when 5000 are fed as though it is somehow unusual in terms of what God does. But in fact, God is doing it every day. Have you wondered from where do the provisions of the world come?

While St Teresa of Avila was starting new convents always she was questioned about the resources. Her response was- It’s true that I have only a few shillings. But a few shillings and Jesus with me Teresa will work miracles. He who has God finds himself lacking nothing: God alone suffices.

Our limited recourses, our limited talents, limited wisdom and knowledge, with His blessings will work wonders. Let God work a miracle with you today, take out the little that you have and hold it out to him…to raise, to thank, to break, to bless and to multiply…and to feed as many as he wants. Dr James M L CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-08-1

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

MONDAY OF THE 18TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MATEO 14:13-21. UNSA MAY ATONG MAHIMO ARON PAGTABANG SA UBAN NGA NAGLISOD? Atubangan sa daghang mga problema sa kinabuhi – kapobrehon, sakit, druga ug uban pa – daghan kanato mopiyong nalang sa mga mata. Moingon kita, “Unsa may atong mabuhat nga kabos ra man ta?” Apan ang ebanghelyo nagtudlo nga bisan unsa ka gamay ang anaa kanato, kon kini atong ipaambit ug pabendisyonan sa Ginoo, makatabang na’g dako sa isigkatawo. Ato kining mapamatud-an diha sa atong kasinati-an. Ang mga pobre nga magkahiusa pagpaambit sa ilang panahon ug katakos pwede nga makahimo’g balay alang sa ilang kauban nga mga kabos. Sakto si Howard Zinn sa pag-ingon: “We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts when multiplied by millions of people can change the world.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/07/monday-of-18th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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August 1, 2016

REFLECTION: It is interesting to note in today’s gospel reading that it was not Jesus himself who distributed the multiplied bread and fish to the crowd. Instead he had his disciples do it for him. Obviously he wanted to associate them to his feeding activity. This is a symbolic move on his part. It means that all the disciples of Jesus dispersed throughout time and space must feed the hungry masses of mankind.

In that connection, if we look at our world situation today, we find a scandalous anomaly. On the one hand, according to the UN food agency, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the world has the resources and technology to produce sufficient quantities of food to bring an end to hunger and poverty. Yet, on the other hand, the UN also reports (cf. Jean Ziegler’s statement in October 2005) that every day 100,000 people die of malnutrition. Why is this? Partly because of natural catastrophes. But partly also (and maybe more ­importantly) because of human greed. Ultimately rich countries are not willing to share more of their wealth with developing countries, and when they do share their wealth, the help given usually ends up in the pockets of corrupt local officials. As we read in 1 Tim 6:10: “The love of money is the root of all evils.”

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3602-august-1-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 18th Week of the Year

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