17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Kgs 4:42-44
Bear with one another charitably…
I have always found the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 extremely rich in its teaching. What strikes me most is how it was a little boy from whom Jesus took the loaves in order to feed the multitudes. I cannot help but draw parallels with us Catholics needing a child-like faith, in order to be able to keep our flame going with regards to our love for God.
For many of us, we tend to become weighed down by the yoke of responsibility – at work, at home and in ministry. The constant need to be ‘present’, especially now in Zoom sessions/meetings can be draining. What more if ministry meetings or sharing sessions continue after office hours. Where does one draw the line in order to remain aflame for God?
For me, it is the Bible — The Word of God – that nourishes me. And in order to be nourished, I need to a) be seated – just like the multitudes on the mountain. I cannot read standing up; b) be in a quiet place – the mountains around Galilee are certainly serene and the scenery is breathtaking. I tend to cloister myself in my bedroom whenever I need a quiet place to reflect; and c) trust in God’s providence – that He will provide me with the inspiration/words/ideas; just as how Jesus fed the multitudes not just with the loaves but, more importantly, with His love.
Brothers and sisters, nothing sustains better than the love of God. For it is only that which will inspire us to behave charitably with one another. No amount of knowledge gained from reading the Bible or attending retreats can replace the love of God deep inside of us. If we bear resentment, jealousy or envy; if we are prideful, greedy or angry, there is no way we will ever be satisfied or satiated. That is as plain as can be. Literally and metaphorically, if we don’t empty ourselves of hurt, disappointment, bitterness, how are we going to allow God’s love to fill us up? And as parents, teachers and counsellors, leaders of organisations/teams, lay leaders, many look to us for inspiration, leadership and…sustenance — “Feed me/us with information”, “Feed me/us with a song of praise”, “Feed me/us with an opportunity in this time of crisis.”
Like the multitudes on the mountain who followed Jesus and His apostles, they were curious about this so-called Messiah. A preacher who was going around the land proclaiming love. I don’t know where you are in your faith journey, but I still remain curious…from the perspective of a fifty-plus adult, who has fought enough battles to remain a little cynical and doubtful. However, there are times when that little boy comes to the fore and, with wide-eyed abandon, approaches Jesus with what little I have. To then see him multiply it in order to ‘feed’ others truly is a miracle, and will always remain a mystery to me.
So, brothers and sisters, what is it that you can bring to the table for Jesus to multiply today? It can be something truly insignificant – a simple ‘hello’ to a stranger, sheltering someone in the rain with your umbrella, a kind email to a colleague. Whatever it is, as long as it comes from a place of love, Jesus will take it and multiply it. To feed our family, loved ones, colleagues and fellow ministry members.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Abba Father, give me the desire to remain open to your love so that I can radiate it to those around me who are in need. Let me be your vessel of love, hope and inspiration to others.
Thanksgiving: I thank you, most loving, generous Father, for being such a generous, loving and giving God. And for always showering us with your abundant, unconditional love.