MONDAY OF THE EIGHTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME AUGUST 5, 2019
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 14: 13-21
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." He said to them, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have here." Then he said, "Bring them here to me," and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
REFLECTION: He said to them, "There is no need for them to go away;give them some food yourselves."
When our needs are great, there never is a thought about distance, weather or place. So the crowd followed Jesus. Jesus took pity and healed their sick. The day was almost done and the crowd had not eaten. The disciples, being practical, told Jesus that the crowds were hungry and it would be prudent to send the crowds away into the villages to buy their own food. And Jesus said, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves."
The disciples were being practical --they already knew that they only had 5 loaves and 2 fishes. They knew that they would not be able to feed the 5000+ people. They had taken stock of their reality and knew that what was before them was larger than life and beyond their power to change or influence. But they failed to include God in their predicament and did not think outside the box. No one asked Jesus what were they to do. Instead they gave in to pessimism and discouragement. Either they still did not understand that they were walking with the Son of God or they forgot and tried to figure out the problem by themselves.
As Pope Francis said, "You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. That is how prayer works." They had only to ask Jesus, to count upon the grace of God. With God, we can do anything if it is His will even when we see and smell defeat. The disciples +5 loaves and 2 fishes +God = A Miracle. As a result of our faith and our persistent praying, God will always hear us and answer us when its in His plans and best interest.
God asks us to work with what He has given us--talents, finances, intellect, compassion, and virtues (our loaves and fishes) and to put them into good use. No excuses, no "ifs", "buts" or omissions. PAPA Joe prays for the hungry and malnourished children of Venezuela. One day, if it's God will, we hope to expand and include the hungry of the world. God said to ask and it will be given to you. We might not see the results of our efforts but in doing the work of God, the fruits will be forthcoming. The Holy Spirit will direct us in the right ways by His inspirations.
Do you have a loved one that is ill, or addicted or estranged? Do you have financial, medical, marital problems? Do you know of fallen away Catholics? If you do not have any problems and life is great for you--then pray for others and put your talents to good use. Share your prayers with others. Pray without ceasing with perseverance. We are asked to respond when the need arises or when God calls. Our prayers will never be in vain--God wants to hear our needs. Converse with Him continuously.
Faced with a problem, PAPA was established. Pray for our priests especially those who have asked us to pray for them. As St John Vianney, Patron of priests, said, "Prayer is to the soul what rain is to the soil. Fertilize the soil ever so richly, it will remain barren unless fed by frequent rains. Prayer is the inner bath of love into which the soul plunges itself."