A Letter from Fr. Paul - August 2nd
Please note that the bishop has lifted the obligation to attend Sunday Mass through September 6th.
For those of us struggling to understand White Privilege, an excellent reflection by Franciscan Brother Daniel P. Horan can be found by going to www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/faith-seeking-understanding/running-while-white. It is helpful for us to pay attention to situations which are not “stressful” for us who are White that might be for others. For example, I am remembering the incident that I’ve shared with you before from the lock down at my community house during the shooting at the Miller Brewery: a White community member was allowed to return to our house, while a Black member had to wait hours and hours. Being aware of these realities will help us find ways to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Do you know what story is repeated the most in the Gospels? It is the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, which is recounted 6 times: twice in Matthew and Mark and once in Luke and John. Obviously, it was very significant to the early disciples.
In the version from Matthew that we hear this weekend, the multiplication is presented immediately after the death of John the Baptist. Jesus is trying to get away by Himself to process what happened to His cousin, but “His heart was moved to pity” for the crowds. The word used for “pity” implies a gut-wrenching reaction. Jesus’ compassion enabled Him to put others first, setting aside His need for solitude to be with the people, preaching and curing the sick. Are we able to allow our plans and our comfort to be disrupted by the needs of others?
When the disciples come to Jesus with their concern about the people and where they will get food, Jesus tells them, “give them some food yourselves.” That says to me that I can’t simply petition God to help those in need, but that I must be part of the solution. The disciples had 5 loaves of bread and two fish. When they offered what they had, Jesus made it enough to feed everyone. Are we willing to offer the time, talent, and treasure that the Lord has given us to be used for the needs of others? We can’t just pray; we need to be involved. There are all sorts of statistics and facts that indicate that the world has enough food and resources for everyone, if we are willing to use only what we need and share the rest.
I invite us this week to reflect on this Gospel. Am I indifferent or do I allow my heart to be moved with pity for the needs of others? Do I share only what is extra or am I willing to hand over all five loaves and two fishes? Do I share my time, talent, and treasure, all gifts from God, with those in need? How can I do better?
Jesus asks us, as He did His disciples in our Gospel story, to bring what we have and present it. When we yoke what we have to God’s power, miraculous things happen.
God bless and stay safe!
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