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Sep 21st
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. July 26, 2009 - Sunday Meditation (Dont Take Jesus For Granted, Please...)
July 26, 2009 - Sunday Meditation (Dont Take Jesus For Granted, Please...) PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 24 July 2009 03:41


B ut the trouble with taking things for granted is that we can become a bit indifferent, and so fail to enjoy them as much as we might. Children have a lot to teach us here - their gift for perceiving so many things as miracle and wonder makes them enjoy life a lot more than many of us do.





Seventeenth Sunday of the Year


2 Kings 4:42-44


Ephesians 4:1-6


J ohn 6:1-15 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiber'i -as. (2) And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. (3) Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. (4) Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. (5) Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" (6) This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. (7) Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." (8) One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, (9) "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?" (10) Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. (11) Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. (12) And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost." (13) So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. (14) When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!" (15) Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.





* Meditation by Dominic White O.P.


E ven in these tough times, we still assume a lot will be there as normal. Like electricity, for example. A couple of winters ago, there was quite a long power-cut one evening in the area around St.. Dominic's Parish in London, where I'm a priest. Mass had to be celebrated with every candle we could find, and for several hours there was no electricity at all. No lights, no electric cookers or kitchen gadgets, no hi-fi, TV or computers. That very dark evening, struggling to read by candle-light, I reflected on how much we can take things for granted.


Today's Gospel is a well-known and much-loved story about how Jesus took pity on the great crowd of people who were following them, and taking the five loaves and two fish offered by one of them, turned it into a meal for thousands, with twelve baskets left over. A story so well known and loved that we can take it for granted. We can take it for granted too that we instinctively recognise it's meant to make us think about Mass - because it involves bread.


That's just what St. John wants us to think: he tells us that it was 'shortly before the Passover', which is also the time when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, the first Mass. Later on in the same chapter, in next week's Gospel, we will hear that people came to find Jesus on the other side of the sea, when He will tell them that He is 'the Bread of Life'.


This is a wonderful thing, a far greater miracle and wonder than the feeding of the five thousand: at every Mass what we bring to the altar as bread really becomes the Body of Christ, and we receive it as our food.


Yet because this happens at every Mass, because it's a matter of course that every Sunday we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, our Lord and God, we can easily take it for granted. It's as much part of our life as electricity, and indeed that's how it should be. For us here in London , anyway, we're more likely to suffer a power-cut than suddenly to be deprived of Mass. And that makes it all the more easy to take the Eucharist for granted.


But the trouble with taking things for granted is that we can become a bit indifferent, and so fail to enjoy them as much as we might. Children have a lot to teach us here - their gift for perceiving so many things as miracle and wonder makes them enjoy life a lot more than many of us do. And maybe that's also why traditional peoples in poor countries have such a gift for festivals, and are so hospitable - if you don't have much, then when something special does happen, you really celebrate it.


What about the people in today's Gospel? They don't understand what Jesus is about - he does not want to become a secular ruler who provides endless free meals. They have not gone beyond the surface in finding out the truth about him. But it will be to their credit in next week's Gospel that they come after him - because they want more from Jesus. Even if what they most obviously want is more free food, there is a deeper desire at work in them - the desire for God's love, the desire for eternal life.


Because Jesus has left them - because he has passed over to the other side - they will come and seek him out. So if sometimes God feels a long way from us, or if Mass has become a rather ordinary and humdrum affair for us, let's actively seek the Lord out, and ask him for more.


Equally, we might think about preparing for the Eucharist each Sunday. I know that idealistic preachers sometimes tell us to arrive early and spend some time in prayer before Mass, or read through the Sunday readings the night before. The reality of getting children to church and sorting everything else out may mean that's a bit unrealistic for most of us. But I suggest we can all manage, however we do it, to fast a little before Mass. Nothing dramatic here - all we're meant to do is to abstain from food an hour before Holy Communion. Not because there's anything wrong with food, but because putting off for a little bit the marvellous pleasure of food really helps us to focus, without being distracted, on the wonderful miracle of the Eucharist in which we're about to take part. Jesus used to fast, and so did his disciples.


Obviously it doesn't follow that the more you fast the closer you will get to God - that is a very dangerous idea, and forgets that food is one of the good things God gives us! But a sensible, manageable fast is just one of the ways we can free ourselves up to seek Jesus as He really is, and to find the happiness that he wants to give us, and pass it on to others. So let us seek the Lord, and seek him with all our hearts - and enjoy the miracle and wonder that he wants to give us.






* Supplementary Reading


My Weakness, God's Strength by Sheila Schuller Coleman




Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way. – Isaiah 35:3



My mother is always on call for me. One morning when I felt completely inadequate for a task, I phoned Mom.


"I can't do this, Mom. I lack the skills and innate abilities the project requires. This dream needs someone fearless. I'm too reluctant to sell myself or my projects."


"Well, Sheila," Mom said, "that just means your dream is God-given. God will only give you a dream that demands his help so he gets the credit while building your faith. If it's something you can do all by yourself, you don't need God. A dream that is too big for you drives you to your knees, which is exactly where he wants you."


Mother knows best! When I feel inadequate I put my trust in God. I grow spiritually and watch God in action. And I wouldn't miss that for the world!



* * *


What's YOUR dream? Measure the size of it by asking this: Is my dream too big to achieve on my own, or can I only achieve it if God is central to it?


* * *


O Theos Na Mas Evlogisi!
PRAY as if everything depended on HIM. ACT as if everything depended on YOU.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 25 July 2009 07:26
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1 Tuesday, 28 July 2009 06:51

Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary


An ancient tradition from the second century attributes the names of Joachim and Anne to the parents of the Blessed Virgin. Devotion to them is a prolongation of the piety with which the faithful have always approached the intercession of their daughter our Mother Mary. Pope Leo XIII created this joint feast, which was celebrated individually up until the most recent liturgical reform.

The home of the Virgin’s parents.

Praised be Joachim and Anne for the child they bore. The Lord gave them the blessing of all the nations (Entrance Antiphon).

A very ancient tradition has preserved for us the names of Mary’s parents, who were, in their time and historical circumstances, a precious foundational stone in the fulfilment of the salvation of mankind (John Paul II, Address, 26 July 1983). Through them, the blessing that God promised Abraham and his descendants has reached us, since we received the Saviour through their cooperation. St John Damascene affirms that we know the blessed couple by their fruits: the Virgin Mary is the resplendent fruit they gave to humanity. Saint Anne conceived her, most pure and immaculate, in her womb. Oh, most beautiful, most lovable child! - the holy Doctor exclaims - Oh, daughter of Adam and Mother of God! Blessed be the womb that bore you! Blessed be the aims that held you, the lips that had the privilege of kissing you… (Liturgy of the Hours, St John Damascene, About the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, 6). Saints Joachim and Anne had the immense privilege of caring for the Mother of God in their own home. The Lord must have poured out many graces on them throughout this time. St Teresa of Avila, who used to put the monasteries she founded under the protection of St Joseph and St Anne, argues: The mercy of God is so great he will never fail to favour the homes of his glorious grandmother (cf M. Auclair, Teresa of Avila, p.316). Jesus descended directly from the maternal side of the faithful parents whose feast we celebrate today.

We can entrust the mother and father of Our Lady with all our needs, especially the ones that have to do with the sanctity of our homes. Lord, God of our fathers - we pray in the Liturgy of the Mass - you gave Saints Joachim and Anne the privilege of being the parents of Mary, the mother of your Incarnate Son. May their prayers help us to attain the salvation you have promised to your people (Opening Prayer). Help us to be vigilant on behalf of those you have put under our care. Teach us how to create a human and supernatural tone for our surroundings, in which it will be easier to find you, our last end and our treasure.

With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at www.totusbookstore. com (info@totusbookstore .com)

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