Entrance Antiphon, 1 Pt 2:9 “O chosen people proclaim the mighty works of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Speaking of “calling,” the First reading from Acts 6:1-7, describes the “calling” or “choosing” of the seven.
Due to complaints from the Hellenists, regarding their widows not receiving equal help with the distribution of food, the matter was submitted to the 12. They called the community of disciples together, who stated they could not neglect the word of God or to serve at the table. They then made the initial proposal for the Community to select seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom shall be appointed to that task, thus creating the group of the “Seven.” The community agreed, choosing Stephen, a man filled with the Spirit and Faith and then Philip. These men were presented to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them. These “seven” rapidly started taking care of the widows and then dedicated their time to much preaching. The number of converts increased greatly, even a large group of priests was converted.
This gives us a good and pragmatic example of how a community is able to get together peacefully, listen to a problem perceived by some of the members and arrive at a positive solution. Of course, all this is possible when you are guided by the “Light.”
Reflecting a bit on the comments made by the 12, about not being able to neglect the word of God and to serve at table, one may think this is a group of “Priests” whose responsibility is the spreading of the word of God and of course the Eucharist (serving at the table.) On the other hand, the Seven are selected for “service,” which is the charisma of the deacons. Perhaps, we are encountering the first distinctions between priests and deacons…just a thought.
The Responsorial Psalm, from Psalm 33, responds as follows: Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you…”placing our trust in you” prepares us to listen to the Gospel of John, 6:16-21
John’s Gospel is my favorite gospel…and this passage tells us one of the most wonderful stories in the Fourth Gospel. Although it does not deal with an extraordinary miracle, it is a profound fishing story in which John observes and learns, in a way he never forgot, what Jesus was really like…
After the feeding of the big crowd, Jesus encouraged the multitude to go on home and to the Disciples, to keep on going as well. He wanted some time to Himself.
Undoubtedly, it was His intention to walk around the Lake while the Disciples rowed across and they would rejoin in Capernaum. The Disciples had set sail while Jesus calmly stayed and communed with God. Looking down on the lake below He could see the boat and the rowers toiling at the oars, so He decided to come down. The disciples had almost arrived at their destination, the Lake was not very big, and they saw Jesus walking on the Sea. Depending on the translation, it could have also meant, they saw Jesus walking on the seashore, which made a lot of sense given the geography of that lake.
So the disciples are working hard at the oars when they suddenly look up and they saw Him. It was so unexpected; they thought they were seeing a ghost, a spirit. Jesus said, "It is I, don't be afraid." The Disciples wanted Him to come on board but their boat had already arrived at the Galilean side.
It appears that John mainly remembers four wonders about Jesus. He observes that Jesus WATCHES. He had not forgotten them. Even though He was communing with God, He was not too busy to forget his disciples. He was always lovingly looking at them. The same way He does with us.
But Jesus does not interfere. He allows us to live our lives, independently, while He keeps a loving eye upon us.
John saw that Jesus COMES. Jesus came down from the hillside to allow the disciples to make the last pull into safety. He does not watch with detachment, just as a good parent. When our strength is giving out, He comes to the rescue, to help us with the last effort that takes us to victory.
John also saw that Jesus HELPS. That is the beauty of the Christian life. There is nothing we are left to do alone. We never need to do without Jesus.
And, John saw that Jesus BRINGS US TO HEAVEN. Somehow, in the presence of Jesus, the longest journey is shorter and the hardest battle, easier.
In other words, John, the fisherman turned evangelist seemed to have found all the wealth of Christ in the memory of a fisherman’s story…