July 31, 2012

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus

Luke 9: 18-25

Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”

He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone,saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

Service Beneath the Banner of the Cross

As we celebrate today with St. Ignatius, let us ponder his service to “our supreme commander and Lord.” All of his spirituality centers on this service, understood in the first place as military service. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius begs to be received “under the standard,” or into the service, of Christ. He describes a Jesuit as one who “desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross.” He looks for ways to distinguish himself ” in total service to [his] eternal King and universal Lord.”

This service, though, is distinguished from worldly service in two crucial ways. First, it is intimate service. Jesus is a genuine leader, with true affection and closeness to those who serve with him. He shares with his soldiers all that he has; he shares hardships with them as well as the glory to be won. He shares his company and friendship with them. We serve not a distant, unconcerned leader, but rather enjoy the close companionship of the King we serve in the everyday life spent in his service. We are his companions in the battle, serving always with him at our side.

Secondly, the battle strategy is Jesus’ own strategy, a decidedly spiritual one which he developed and perfected. Jesus’ strategy is one of poverty, suffering, and humility. When St. Ignatius had his mystical experience at La Storta, in which he was received into the service of Christ, he did not see Christ in his battle finery, glorious and triumphant, but humble and poor, carrying his cross. The enemy is defeated and souls, including are own, are saved for the glory of God through these weapons of poverty and humility.

Like all true military service, service under the standard of the Cross can be daunting. But undertaken as friends and companions of Jesus Christ, not only is it possible, it is joyful and exhilarating, as by following our true King, we win the glory for which we were created.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.

Prayer of St. Ignatius

(Suscipe)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will, all I have and
call my own.
You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I
return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and grace,
that is enough for me.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer of St. Ignatius

(Suscipe)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will, all I have and
call my own.
You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I
return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and grace,
that is enough for me.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer of St. Ignatius

(Suscipe)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will, all I have and
call my own.
You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I
return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and grace,
that is enough for me.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Service Beneath the Banner of the Cross

As we celebrate today with St. Ignatius, let us ponder his service to “our supreme commander and Lord.”  All of his spirituality centers on this service, understood in the first place as military service. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius begs to be received “under the standard,” or into the service, of Christ. He describes a Jesuit as one who “desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross.”  He looks for ways to distinguish himself ” in total service to [his] eternal King and universal Lord.”

This service, though, is distinguished from worldly service in two crucial ways.  First, it is intimate service.  Jesus is a genuine leader, with true affection and closeness to those who serve with him.  He shares with his soldiers all that he has; he shares hardships with them as well as the glory to be won.  He shares his company and friendship with them. We serve not a distant, unconcerned leader, but rather enjoy the close companionship of the King we serve in the everyday life spent in his service. We are his companions in the battle, serving always with him at our side.

Secondly, the battle strategy is Jesus’ own strategy, a decidedly spiritual one which he developed and perfected.  Jesus’ strategy is one of poverty, suffering, and humility. When St. Ignatius had his mystical experience at La Storta, in which he was received into the service of Christ, he did not see Christ in his battle finery, glorious and triumphant, but humble and poor, carrying his cross.  The enemy is defeated and souls, including are own, are saved for the glory of God through these weapons of poverty and humility.  Like all true military service, service under the standard of the Cross can be daunting.  But undertaken as friends and companions of Jesus Christ, not only is it possible, it is joyful and exhilarating, as by following our true King, we win the glory for which we were created.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus

Luke 9: 18-25

Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”

He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone,saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 30, 2012

Matthew 13: 31-35

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

The Power of Story

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives two familiar parables, comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed and to leaven mixed in bread. These well-known tales illustrate the fertile power of the word of God to transform lives and the world, to build up a great communion of people in God from tiny, humble origins. These simple stories explain this truth in a far richer way than even an eloquent theoretical discussion ever could.

The Gospel explains Jesus’ choice to teach in parables: in so doing, he fulfilled a divine plan and fulfilled an ancient prophecy. But it was also based on sound natural principles, for stories are essential to our lives. They shape us, change the way we think, what we imagine, what we treasure. They inspire us to do things and discourage us from doing others. That is why it is so important to surround ourselves with good stories. There is no such thing as “just a story.” Every story has power, for good or bad. Stories are not just things in children’s books: they are what we see on the news, what we hear in music, what we watch in movies and TV, what we hear from our friends. And every story we hear subtly shapes us, for better or worse.

So it’s worth the effort to be formed by good stories, from the Bible of course, but also from literature, film, and music. And it’s not enough simply to avoid the bad stuff. We all need the help that good stories can give us in growing in virtue and holiness. They may not have the divine power of one of Jesus’ parables, but they can teach us in ways far more powerful than we could ever imagine.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.

Prayer

Lord, we wait on so many things: the healing of a sick family member, the completion of an arduous project, the answer to a long standing prayer, the guidance to make the right decision, the end to financial struggle, and the deliverance from a fear that continues to haunt us. Yet you remind us that if we have but the seed of faith – a sincere desire to listen and serve you – we will be moving in the right direction and your divine timing will provide for us. With gratitude we ask you to continue to accompany us this day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, we wait on so many things: the healing of a sick family member, the completion of an arduous project, the answer to a long standing prayer, the guidance to make the right decision, the end to financial struggle, and the deliverance from a fear that continues to haunt us. Yet you remind us that if we have but the seed of faith – a sincere desire to listen and serve you – we will be moving in the right direction and your divine timing will provide for us. With gratitude we ask you to continue to accompany us this day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

The Power of Story

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives two familiar parables, comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed and to leaven mixed in bread.  These well-known tales illustrate the fertile power of the word of God to transform lives and the world, to build up a great communion of people in God from tiny, humble origins.  These simple stories explain this truth in a far richer way than even an eloquent theoretical discussion ever could.

The Gospel explains Jesus’ choice to teach in parables:  in so doing, he fulfilled a divine plan and fulfilled an ancient prophecy.  But it was also based on sound natural principles, for stories are essential to our lives.  They shape us, change the way we think, what we imagine, what we treasure.  They inspire us to do things and discourage us from doing others.  That is why it is so important to surround ourselves with good stories.  There is no such thing as “just a story.”  Every story has power, for good or bad.  Stories are not just things in children’s books: they are what we see on the news, what we hear in music, what we watch in movies and TV, what we hear from our friends.  And every story we hear subtly shapes us, for better or worse.

So it’s worth the effort to be formed by good stories, from the Bible of course, but also from literature, film, and music.  And it’s not enough simply to avoid the bad stuff.  We all need the help that good stories can give us in growing in virtue and holiness.  They may not have the divine power of one of Jesus’ parables, but they can teach us in ways far more powerful than we could ever imagine.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Matthew 13: 31-35

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 29, 2012

John 6: 1-15

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all.

Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”

When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved(http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

More than Bread

The gospel today provides John’s account of the multiplication of the loaves. Chapter 6 begins with an account of the multiplication of loaves and concludes with Jesus’ admonition that “my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” This passage, like many others in the Gospels and the Epistles, grounds the Catholic belief in the Real presence and its saving work among us.

Today’s gospel reveals that when Jesus supplied for the material needs of thousands who came to hear here him, the response of the crowds was to try to take him off and make him king. For supplying bread alone? Yes for bread alone. It was not until the industrial revolution, well into the 19th century, that most people (at least 75% of the population) spent at least 75% of their wages just on bread. So anyone who could supply bread, the basic material substance of life, was seen as a great king. Jesus rejected this offer, for he saw in it a job description that limited human existence to supplying only material needs.

There is no doubt that we need bread and many other material things, but the limited horizon of desiring only material things diminishes our potential as men and women, created in the image and likeness of God, whose deepest desires are not satisfied by bread alone.

—Fr. Michael Maher, S.J.

Prayer

Lord, in some ways we are like the young boy in the Gospel today. We have but little to give to those whose needs are great. Yet if we offer what we do have and lean on you for the rest, we will make a difference. When we feel overwhelmed or question if our efforts really matter, help us to remember that together we are an awesome team.

-The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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July 31, 2012

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus

Luke 9: 18-25

Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”

He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone,saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

Service Beneath the Banner of the Cross

As we celebrate today with St. Ignatius, let us ponder his service to “our supreme commander and Lord.” All of his spirituality centers on this service, understood in the first place as military service. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius begs to be received “under the standard,” or into the service, of Christ. He describes a Jesuit as one who “desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross.” He looks for ways to distinguish himself ” in total service to [his] eternal King and universal Lord.”

This service, though, is distinguished from worldly service in two crucial ways. First, it is intimate service. Jesus is a genuine leader, with true affection and closeness to those who serve with him. He shares with his soldiers all that he has; he shares hardships with them as well as the glory to be won. He shares his company and friendship with them. We serve not a distant, unconcerned leader, but rather enjoy the close companionship of the King we serve in the everyday life spent in his service. We are his companions in the battle, serving always with him at our side.

Secondly, the battle strategy is Jesus’ own strategy, a decidedly spiritual one which he developed and perfected. Jesus’ strategy is one of poverty, suffering, and humility. When St. Ignatius had his mystical experience at La Storta, in which he was received into the service of Christ, he did not see Christ in his battle finery, glorious and triumphant, but humble and poor, carrying his cross. The enemy is defeated and souls, including are own, are saved for the glory of God through these weapons of poverty and humility.

Like all true military service, service under the standard of the Cross can be daunting. But undertaken as friends and companions of Jesus Christ, not only is it possible, it is joyful and exhilarating, as by following our true King, we win the glory for which we were created.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.

Prayer of St. Ignatius

(Suscipe)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will, all I have and
call my own.
You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I
return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and grace,
that is enough for me.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer of St. Ignatius

(Suscipe)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will, all I have and
call my own.
You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I
return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and grace,
that is enough for me.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer of St. Ignatius

(Suscipe)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will, all I have and
call my own.
You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I
return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and grace,
that is enough for me.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Service Beneath the Banner of the Cross

As we celebrate today with St. Ignatius, let us ponder his service to “our supreme commander and Lord.”  All of his spirituality centers on this service, understood in the first place as military service. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius begs to be received “under the standard,” or into the service, of Christ. He describes a Jesuit as one who “desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross.”  He looks for ways to distinguish himself ” in total service to [his] eternal King and universal Lord.”

This service, though, is distinguished from worldly service in two crucial ways.  First, it is intimate service.  Jesus is a genuine leader, with true affection and closeness to those who serve with him.  He shares with his soldiers all that he has; he shares hardships with them as well as the glory to be won.  He shares his company and friendship with them. We serve not a distant, unconcerned leader, but rather enjoy the close companionship of the King we serve in the everyday life spent in his service. We are his companions in the battle, serving always with him at our side.

Secondly, the battle strategy is Jesus’ own strategy, a decidedly spiritual one which he developed and perfected.  Jesus’ strategy is one of poverty, suffering, and humility. When St. Ignatius had his mystical experience at La Storta, in which he was received into the service of Christ, he did not see Christ in his battle finery, glorious and triumphant, but humble and poor, carrying his cross.  The enemy is defeated and souls, including are own, are saved for the glory of God through these weapons of poverty and humility.  Like all true military service, service under the standard of the Cross can be daunting.  But undertaken as friends and companions of Jesus Christ, not only is it possible, it is joyful and exhilarating, as by following our true King, we win the glory for which we were created.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus

Luke 9: 18-25

Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”

He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone,saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 30, 2012

Matthew 13: 31-35

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

The Power of Story

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives two familiar parables, comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed and to leaven mixed in bread. These well-known tales illustrate the fertile power of the word of God to transform lives and the world, to build up a great communion of people in God from tiny, humble origins. These simple stories explain this truth in a far richer way than even an eloquent theoretical discussion ever could.

The Gospel explains Jesus’ choice to teach in parables: in so doing, he fulfilled a divine plan and fulfilled an ancient prophecy. But it was also based on sound natural principles, for stories are essential to our lives. They shape us, change the way we think, what we imagine, what we treasure. They inspire us to do things and discourage us from doing others. That is why it is so important to surround ourselves with good stories. There is no such thing as “just a story.” Every story has power, for good or bad. Stories are not just things in children’s books: they are what we see on the news, what we hear in music, what we watch in movies and TV, what we hear from our friends. And every story we hear subtly shapes us, for better or worse.

So it’s worth the effort to be formed by good stories, from the Bible of course, but also from literature, film, and music. And it’s not enough simply to avoid the bad stuff. We all need the help that good stories can give us in growing in virtue and holiness. They may not have the divine power of one of Jesus’ parables, but they can teach us in ways far more powerful than we could ever imagine.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.

Prayer

Lord, we wait on so many things: the healing of a sick family member, the completion of an arduous project, the answer to a long standing prayer, the guidance to make the right decision, the end to financial struggle, and the deliverance from a fear that continues to haunt us. Yet you remind us that if we have but the seed of faith – a sincere desire to listen and serve you – we will be moving in the right direction and your divine timing will provide for us. With gratitude we ask you to continue to accompany us this day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, we wait on so many things: the healing of a sick family member, the completion of an arduous project, the answer to a long standing prayer, the guidance to make the right decision, the end to financial struggle, and the deliverance from a fear that continues to haunt us. Yet you remind us that if we have but the seed of faith – a sincere desire to listen and serve you – we will be moving in the right direction and your divine timing will provide for us. With gratitude we ask you to continue to accompany us this day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

The Power of Story

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives two familiar parables, comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed and to leaven mixed in bread.  These well-known tales illustrate the fertile power of the word of God to transform lives and the world, to build up a great communion of people in God from tiny, humble origins.  These simple stories explain this truth in a far richer way than even an eloquent theoretical discussion ever could.

The Gospel explains Jesus’ choice to teach in parables:  in so doing, he fulfilled a divine plan and fulfilled an ancient prophecy.  But it was also based on sound natural principles, for stories are essential to our lives.  They shape us, change the way we think, what we imagine, what we treasure.  They inspire us to do things and discourage us from doing others.  That is why it is so important to surround ourselves with good stories.  There is no such thing as “just a story.”  Every story has power, for good or bad.  Stories are not just things in children’s books: they are what we see on the news, what we hear in music, what we watch in movies and TV, what we hear from our friends.  And every story we hear subtly shapes us, for better or worse.

So it’s worth the effort to be formed by good stories, from the Bible of course, but also from literature, film, and music.  And it’s not enough simply to avoid the bad stuff.  We all need the help that good stories can give us in growing in virtue and holiness.  They may not have the divine power of one of Jesus’ parables, but they can teach us in ways far more powerful than we could ever imagine.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Matthew 13: 31-35

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 29, 2012

John 6: 1-15

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all.

Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”

When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved(http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

More than Bread

The gospel today provides John’s account of the multiplication of the loaves. Chapter 6 begins with an account of the multiplication of loaves and concludes with Jesus’ admonition that “my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” This passage, like many others in the Gospels and the Epistles, grounds the Catholic belief in the Real presence and its saving work among us.

Today’s gospel reveals that when Jesus supplied for the material needs of thousands who came to hear here him, the response of the crowds was to try to take him off and make him king. For supplying bread alone? Yes for bread alone. It was not until the industrial revolution, well into the 19th century, that most people (at least 75% of the population) spent at least 75% of their wages just on bread. So anyone who could supply bread, the basic material substance of life, was seen as a great king. Jesus rejected this offer, for he saw in it a job description that limited human existence to supplying only material needs.

There is no doubt that we need bread and many other material things, but the limited horizon of desiring only material things diminishes our potential as men and women, created in the image and likeness of God, whose deepest desires are not satisfied by bread alone.

—Fr. Michael Maher, S.J.

Prayer

Lord, in some ways we are like the young boy in the Gospel today. We have but little to give to those whose needs are great. Yet if we offer what we do have and lean on you for the rest, we will make a difference. When we feel overwhelmed or question if our efforts really matter, help us to remember that together we are an awesome team.

-The Jesuit Prayer Team


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