by Sister Joan Polak ND
Parable of the loaves and fishes
The story of loaves and fishes is an easy lesson of sharing. It is also a not so easy lesson of trust in the word of another. Another is a likeness to the transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. A miracle that happens daily at our altars.
However, the words that struck me in today’s gospel were: “He withdrew again to the mountain alone”. Instead of hanging around for acclamation and perhaps even gratitude of the crowd, he withdrew to the mountain ALONE. And so I ask” Where is your mountain? Is it the church, a chapel, a bench in a park, a quiet corner to be alone?
We all need to find that place of retreat from busyness to quiet commune with our God. Let us go to that mountain daily or at least weekly where we find not only rest, but the strength to carry out the works of mercy.
July 22, 2018 by Sr Celeste Wobeter ND
Today’s Gospel calls us to reflect on how well we balance our time. A time for our ministry. A time for leisure and relaxation. A time for prayer and contemplation. Sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? To live it well is not so simple!
It seems that Jesus and the disciples had to deal with the same challenges we have. Jesus invites the disciples to come away and rest awhile. So off they go to a “deserted place.” At least they thought it was! But the crowds got there before they did.
How did Jesus respond? He and the disciples were longing for a time to rest, to renew themselves, to share their lives, to dialogue and to pray.
“His heart was moved with pity for them . . . and he began to teach them many things.”
So much for a good balance of time in their lives! Jesus, like us, knew that life does not always go the way one plans. Discernment of heart was his guide. His will was always focused on God’s call. This yearning to be about God’s work was imbedded deeply within his spirit. His heart was moved with pity!
And he began to teach them.
Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Amos 7:12-15; Ps 85: 9-10, 11-12, 13-14; Ephesians 1: 3-34; Mark 6:7-13
Sr. Margaret Proskovec, ND
We learn from the Prophet Amos, that those who speak for God don’t always get to pick their audiences. This gets to be tough when they meet with resistance to God’s words of healing and truth. The Psalm response reminds us that God proclaims peace, that God’s ways are kindness, truth, justice, and peace. As people of faith, called to proclaim the Good News, we are sent to prepare the way for this to happen.
Paul’s letter from prison to his beloved community in Ephesus begins with a blessing. It is grounded in his firm confidence in God’s forgiveness, wisdom, and rich grace that draw us all toward life and unity with one another in Christ.
In the Gospel, Jesus sends out his Apostles to minister the people they encounter. He sends them out with nothing except a companion apostle, a walking stick, and his word.
Reflection: Some time ago, I learned that a synonym for “apostle” is “ambassador” or “representative.” How do I represent the mind and heart of God to others in the ordinary – or not so ordinary – events of daily life? In a reflection by St. Augustine of Hippo, he wrote:
What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of humankind. That is what love looks like.
May this week draw you and the people in your life closer to the heart of God.
Ezekiel 2:2-5 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Mark 6:1-6a
Each of the readings for this Sunday speak of distress: during the Babylonian exile, within Paul’s own soul, and in Jesus facing rejection by the people closest to him.
Ezekiel, one of the great prophets, was called to deliver God’s word to the Israelites in their time of exile. In this passage, part of his call to be prophet, God tells him that it will not be easy. First he will have to make it clear that there is no escape from going into exile because their own hardness of heart. Once in exile, he will provide the word of hope—what they have lost in community, homeland, and Temple—will be restored. All he knows at the beginning of his call, however, is that he is to deliver God’s word to people who do not want to hear it.
The reading from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians is his famous meditation on his own weakness. Despite his fervent prayer that God would remove this weakness, it will remain and he will be required to search for its meaning in his life. It becomes part of his witness rather than an obstacle to it.
Finally, Jesus comes to Nazareth with a world of good news and he is rejected for his lack of exotic credentials. Who is he to be delivering a message from God? He had obviously expected a different reception since the gospel records that “he was amazed at their lack of faith.”
Today our world is a place where distress faces us on every side. It is essential that we repent of our hardness of heart, listen together to God’s word, take courage despite our weaknesses, and, with Jesus, witness by word and deed to God’s message in times and places of rejection as well as welcome.