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Monday – Friday: 6:30 AM
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Saturday: 5:30 PM
Sunday: 7 AM, 11 AM (livestream), 1 PM, 5 PM
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MIDNIGHT MUSINGS

What Nourishes Us?

We interrupt our reading of Mark’s gospel for a five week reading of John’s gospel.  Mark’s gospel sets us up for Jesus’ multiplication of the bread and fish. We switch over to John’s gospel because he not only relates the miracle but also teaches about the Bread of Life. Mark’s gospel is the briefest of the four gospels; this opening to John’s gospel give us a wider vision.

The characters in the scriptures only see the problems. Elisha asks how he can feed one hundred people. In the gospel, Philip comments that 200 day wages would not feed the thousands that followed Jesus. Andrew asks what good is it to have only five pieces of bread and two fish.

We ourselves face problems: sickness, breakups, divorce, loss of job and financial security, even death. We often implicitly define ourselves by problems: out of work person, divorced person, cancer patient, etc. Paul defined himself as a“prisoner for the Lord”– not “prisoner of Rome.”He defined himself not by his problems but by his strength, his relationship with Christ. Paul believed Jesus nourished, fed, strengthened him.

Scriptures today deal with hungry people; those following Jesus were desperate and the disciples did not know what to do. Many can define themselves by physical hungers, not only for food, but for money, power and fame. We live in an avaricious and greedy society; people seek attention, turf, position, leading to resentment, jealousy, indignation, hurt and anger. St. Paul wrote from prison about deeper hungers for faith and love. He did not write about his own sufferings in prison– Not“Get me out of here!”He encouraged disciples to feed on Christ, his love and his peace. The Old Testament responsorial psalm reminded us of how God feeds us personally:

“The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.”St. Paul teaches us to share the love we receive from Christ. He speaks of five social virtues: humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace. We all know that real happiness is proportionate to our connectedness to God and ­others, not to the amount of money, possessions or power we control.

The apostles were afraid that they did not have enough; Jesus said: give me what you’ve got… and it was enough, and more than enough. We often feel that we do not have enough.  More than just bread, we do not have enough energy to handle problems, or we do not have enough patience to deal with situations. Jesus challenges us to live generously: “give me all you’ve got”– it will be enough and more than enough. The Lord multiplies strength and power for people who are grateful and generous. But we do not experience multiplication our affairs, unless we first give thanks to God for the few or little things we have and have shared them with others with gratitude.

Jesus fully expected his disciples to continue his ministry of tending to the hungry in this world; this will be affirmed by the risen Christ at the end of the fourth Gospel. After an intimate lakeside breakfast that he prepared for his disciples, Jesus would look at a weak and wounded Peter and tell him three times: “Feed my sheep” (21:15, 16, 17). Fed by the Lord, we feed others.

Fr. Paul Image

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Paul Vuturo