Jn6:1-15 [17th Sunday in Ordinary Time]

29th July, 2012 Readings: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hi friends!

This week’s Gospel is about Jesus feeding the crowd of 5 thousand.

What struck me in this week’s Gospel is one of the disciples Philip, because I can relate to him. When trials come my way I always use the human intellect of finding a solution. When there seems to be no solution I give up and say that this is impossible, forgetting that God is almighty nothing is impossible to him.

At the beginning it is known that Jesus knows what is coming. The question that he put to Philip has all been just a test like the trials we face in life. At this time at this time Andrew another one of the disciples said to Jesus that there was a boy with 5 loaves and two fishes. Jesus reply was make the crowd sit on the grass field. Following that he broke the bread gave thanks and distributed to everyone.

The logical thinking here is that not everyone will get a piece of the food to eat, cause 5 loaves and 2 fishes can never feed the crowd of 5 thousand right?

Despite it being only 5 loaves and 2 fishes, the crowd were all satisfied. In other words everyone must have taken a big bite at the loaves and fishes. After that the leftovers were collected, amazingly it filled twelve baskets, and this was the miracle that Jesus performed.

In conclusion all that Jesus is asking from us are 5 loaves and 2 fishes. I am sure it is something that is very easy for us to give. Looking at the crowd of 5 thousand, often my answer is “are you sure or not? The food that you are asking form me can never satisfy the crowd.” The reply that Jesus showed me through the gospel is that 5 loaves and 2 fishes is all he need. But the question to us is that are we willing to trust in him and give 5 loaves and 2 fishes? If our answer is YES and it’s part of his plan, it will become something that is so great that we never had expected coming our way.

– Jon

Mk6:30-34 [16th Sunday in Ordinary Time]

22nd July, 2012 Readings: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I met Jesus that night, and I told him of all the things I had accomplished over my busy week. I was eagerly waiting for someone, to congratulate me on everything I had done, but all He said to me was, “Come away, and rest”. They were half the words I was expecting to hear. I really longed for someone to recognize all my efforts, time and energies spent fulfilling responsibilities and just focusing on “others”, and I wished He could have put in a quick word or two about that. But He knew what I really needed was rest. So He took me by the hand, and we got into a boat and went to find some solitude. If anything, I could look forward to just not doing anything and enjoy my state of “nua-ness”.

But who knew that Jesus was such a famous man? I had barely gotten two hours of sleep before witnessing a huge crowd gathering by the beach. And surely as the masses of people increased, my heart grew heavier and sank to my feet. I was just coming back on a tail end of a lot of work, but here they were. More work. “So much for rest, huh Jesus? You can’t even give me that.” He wasn’t listening which annoyed me a bit more.

He just kind of stared at the crowd, and gave a deep, compassionate sigh. Argh, irritating! Must he go and talk to them? I sincerely thought He wanted me to spend time with Him, to recharge my batteries. But I recognized that look that was transfixed on His people, all bunched up like sheep without a shepherd. I remembered when that gaze fell upon my face, all the times I turned to Him in fear, worry and longing. So I gave a not-so-deep, half-convinced sigh to let Him know that I would follow Him, albeit reluctantly. We stepped off the boat and approached the people. Secretly, I hoped to myself that they had brought some food. I hadn’t eaten my dinner yet.

Little did I know that there wasn’t going to be much food.

So, I inserted myself into the Gospel, and it really surprised me how much I had in common with the disciples. I’ve had a lot on my plate for the longest time, always having to meet other peoples’ needs and just hoping that at least this effort was recognized. Instead, yesterday, I got to spend an entire day just doing nothing. Jesus tells me the importance of balancing work with a quiet time of reflection, prayer and purifying my intentions, so I don’t burn out or I don’t get overcome by pride. And I think I’ve been driven by my pride to desire that recognition for everything I’ve been doing.

But yet, somehow Jesus knows when it is time, even when we haven’t fully rested. He knows because He has a heart of compassion, a heart of love for all His people. He recognized their need and was deeply moved by their desire to meet Him that He decided to make Himself available to them. It’s a bit like fans queuing up at the airport to meet a celebrity. Some of them choose to exit by a back door, or just sign one or two autographs. But Jesus would take the time to mingle and meet and greet with all these people.

So sometimes even when we’re so busy, and we want so badly to catch a break and more things come our way, ask to have the heart of Jesus, to view the people and work you do in His perspective. Be moved by their need and recognize that God is calling you. Trust that Jesus will take care of you, and give you rest when you need it, not when you want it. And broaden your mind to recognize that his rest comes in many forms. This passage ends off with the miracle of the loaves, which really seals the deal for me to trust in His providence.

– Poey

Mk6:7-13 [15th Sunday in Ordinary Time]

15th July, 2012 Readings: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

And so this Sunday’s gospel is about Jesus sending out his disciples to do God’s work. But Jesus specifically instructed them to take nothing for the journey, except a walking stick. Without food, drink and even money.

The message that I picked up from this week’s gospel is about trusting God. Relating back to the gospel, if I were one of the disciples, I would have questioned and ask: how could i survive without food, drink, and money??? I am doing God’s work, isn’t God supposed to give me all these basic necessities? But at the end of the day, I am sure that God has great plans and He will watch over me, and make sure that I won’t collapse. It’s about how much I trust him and how much I am willing to give.

Last week, my god-mother passed away. Well, for me, it’s sad to know the news. And it really made me wonder: in the future, how would my life be without her? But nevertheless, I am sure God will take good care of her and God will watch over me.

I believe that many times, there maybe messages around you, a sign from God. It’s up to us to interpret it and receive it.

Finally, we must all spend time and reflect on how much we trust God. When we are caught in a sad, emotional, or hurting situation, we should put 100% faith and trust in God, when things happen, and believe in Him.

– Zhane

Mk6:1-6 [14th Sunday in Ordinary Time]

8th July, 2012 Readings: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Doubt is a concept that is familiar to us all. In our everyday lives, we doubt. We doubt if our efforts will pay off; we doubt the intentions of others; we doubt ourselves and our abilities. We doubt. And guess what, God was doubted and he doubted.

In this weekend’s gospel text, God’s credibility was put into question by his own Jewish people while preaching in the synagogue. “He was amazed at their lack of faith”, when he pointed out the irony in a prophet being shunned “only in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house” but accepted everywhere else.

However, the paradox lies in that without doubt, there can be no form of faith. Faith, in the words of Saint Augustine is “to believe in what we cannot see, and the reward of that faith is to see what you believe”. What strikes me in this week’s gospel is the inability of prophets to perform in miracles in vacuums of faith. Would those places not be most in need of miracles?

Expanding on Saint Augustine’s take on faith and relating it our own lives, parallels almost immediately become apparent. Personally, doubting is almost instinctive, 2nd nature to me – maybe even to the point of cynicism. I struggle with finding God in the everyday things. But I have come to realize, it is all a matter of perspective. After all, there are two sides to a coin.

From the moment I awake in the morning, I doubt the potential good that will come out of a long and arduous day in school and more studying after that. When instead, I could choose to believe that the mere presence of the sun shining brightly that morning, or birds chirping outside my window are blessings from God to kick start my day. The moment I leave the house, I doubt my mother can drive me quickly enough to school without being late. The simple, kinder alternative would be to accept the gift of my mother who has willingly volunteered to send me to school each day as a god-sent. In school, when I doubt my own abilities and how my future may pan out, I should instead trust in the plans that I know the Lord has for me.

What I have come to learn, is that faith is a choice. Every single day, we have to make a choice to find God. Often time, the loud booming voice does not shout out when we are praying, instead, God comes to us in a soft whisper, in ways we least expect. Yet, I urge you to find God in the little things – the bus arriving just as you arrive at the bus stop, a smile from a random stranger in school or at work, the stars in the night sky. God is everywhere – this I was once told as a child. His transience is but a treasure to us if we only open the very eyes he has blessed us with. Choose faith. Block out the doubt.

In the words of Saint Augustine (yes, again), “You have made us for Yourself, Oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” With the coexistence of faith and doubt in our everyday lives, it is not always easy to choose to believe in a God who is intangible, and one who escapes the human senses. The challenge then would clearly be, to state the obvious – have faith. When the going gets tough, I listen to Blessings by Laura Story, to help the tough get going. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOOFAaUGfRE&feature=related

(The lyrics are apt, so please listen to it. Plus I picked a video link with the lyrics on it too.)

What if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near?
What if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?

And so, I urge you to choose faith, choose God, choose to see that goodness in all things come from God, choose inner peace in entrusting God and in surrender, choose to let God love you.

– Maryanne