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GUIDELINES FOR PRAYER - Saturday, August 8, 2015
For the past weeks the Sunday gospels have focused on passages from John 6, where the central image is the BREAD. There is much that can be said about it, probably there are much better exegesis than mine out there, but nonetheless, here is mine.
17th Sunday, John 6, 1-15: Not the King they expect Him to be
I would start from he end of the passage, which is with Jesus running away from the crowd, who by then wanted to crown Him as king: "Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone."
This attitude of Jesus shows his deep intention and purpose in life, that He was not sent by the Father to be crowned as king, at least not as the people expected Him to be king. The crowd wants him to be king because he fed them, He gave them bread for
their stomachs. They saw the "miracle", but still they did not understand it.
First, I would like to say that saying miracle for the multiplication of the Bread and Fishes sounds like it was easy, it may sound like Jesus used some kind of super-power to easily find a solution for
the problem of hunger of the crowd.
We see Philip, by suggestion of Jesus, saying that the solution could be to buy bread, but they do not have enough money. And Andrew sees the solution in front of him, the boy with the bread and fish, but still thinks it is not enough. Jesus sees beyond
these limitations and into the hearts of the people sitting down in front of Him.
I don't believe that the "miracle" was that easy, but instead was something simple and something that we all can accomplished in our lives. I read this explanation somewhere and I totally agree with it. That at that moment, it is not that the people didn't have food, it is probable that some, if not most, had food with them. But, because they thought not to be enough for everyone, they were hiding their food, not to share their bread with the others. While the little boy, in his innocence, was the only one to come forward with what he had. The problem was not the lack of food, it was the lack of communion and willing to share among the crowd
The "miracle" that happened was that Jesus opened the hearts of the crowd to share whatever they had with everyone, to put their bread in the common table so that everyone could eat from it. When they do, they actually find out that there is enough for everyone, there was more than enough, so much that in the end Jesus is careful to ask the disciples not let any of it go to waste.
How about us? Do we live in the fear of sharing our bread? Scared that it may not be enough for me, if I share it someone else? Afraid that even if I share today, maybe someone will not share with me when I need?
It is obvious here that the "miracle" of conversion did not happen through a revolution in the economical or political system of the moment. Jesus solution was to go deeper into the hearts of the
people and open their barriers, fears that prevented them from sharing what they had with the others.
When the people see this, they want to make him king. To establish there and then a new system, with Jesus on the top, at least so that they will not be hungry again. But this is not the Kingdom that He wants, He wants us to be kings, to share His kingdom and power, He wants us to perform the miracle, to be the miracle of bread shared.
Jesus does not want to create an earthly kingdom, he does not want to change political or economical systems, He wants to change the hearts of His followers. So that we may all be equal and share equally among all, so that there is enough for all.
Do not fear, there is more than enough for everyone.
Jesus intention was to create communion, a community of friends who share what they have with one another, with one heart, one mind, where nobody calls anything as their own, but they share: money, time and power.
So, Jesus leave the scene and escapes to the mountain alone, to stay with the Father and continue praying about what had just happened and what will happen next.
18th Sunday, John 6, 24-35: I am the Bread, and so can you
Jesus escapes the crowd and is one His way to Capernaum. But even by walking on water, he can't escape the crowd, who soon catches up with Him. Obviously the crowd is still hungry and wants more bread.
Actually, we are all like this. We run after whatever feeds us. Sometimes not even what is the best for us, but for as long as someone feeds us, we will follow. Why so many people vote for
corrupted politicians? Because they give them bread. The Romans would say "panem et circenses", bread and games, to keep the masses entertained and get their approval.
Jesus does not play this game. He does not "feed" them to get their approval or to be their king. But to teach them that there is a solution to the hungers of everyone in this world, but that the
solution is not in the systems, but in our hearts.
Now, Jesus is proclaiming himself as the bread of life, and whoever believe in him will not hunger or thirst. Not only to believe in him and trust him, but to learn from him and put into practice his teachings.
Jesus is taking us into another level. Now, it is not just about sharing the bread to feed stomachs, but he is asking the followers to be like him, to be bread. Bread that can be broken and eaten by others.
Jesus in the last passage feeds the hungry and teaches them that there is a solution to the material problems of the world, it is to share the bread. Now, he is leading the people into a spiritual journey where they can eat from him, learn from him, from his words and be like him... be Bread.
The Bread is not something, it is someone.
As couples we know how this works. We are broken like bread into many pieces. We are spouses, we are parents, we are part of our families as sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, we are also employees, we are leaders, we are disciples of Christ, we are part of our local communities, we are so many things...
Sometimes we do feel like broken bread that is eaten by everyone else. Like everyone else is out to get a piece of me, to quiet their hunger and quench their thirst with my life, my money, my time and my power.
And this is hard, if we do not feel ourselves, we do really get broken and hurt. So, where do we get our nourishment to be able to be bred for others? From Him, from the real bread from heaven.
I can be everything for everyone, I can be so much for so many, but without him, his words, I will end up burned out, tired and helpless, hurt and angry, feeling exploited and used.
It is so much different if we accept every role in our lives as a God given gift of responsability for the lives of those with whom we share our lives, our spaces and time.
Because either we want it or not, in the end we are feeding on each other, everyday. Sometimes life does feel like a jungle, where we are either preys or predators. And, how much difference ot makes to see someone who is positive and willing to share his life, material and spiritual, someone who lives with an open heart, willing to help and make a difference, where there is indifference. Are you this person in your family? In your office? In your community?
19th Sunday, John 6, 41-45: The son of Joseph and Mary
In this passage there is a lot, Jesus goes even more deeper, revealing in his words his spiritual life and love. But, what sticks with me is the fact that his opponents say: "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?"
Which for me points to His humanity, as if they see the humanity of Jesus as a limitation to be this bread from heaven, a bread that is broken, shared and eaten. How could this possible?
Jesus does not shy away from their doubts, but continues to show that being bread is possible for everyone. I am the son of Fernando and Paula, but in my humanity, my history and limitations, I can be Bread, I can be the miracle.
I can break myself into many pieces and many can feed themselves from me. I can be a way for Him to reach others. I can share His words so that other may also live.
Jesus says to his disciples: "You yourselves, give them something to eat."
we can be the miracle. there is enough time, there is enough money, there is more than enough... try it. Be the bread, be the light and salt of this world. In your family, in your work, in your community, share your bread with others. Be the child with the bread and fish, be the first to share without thinking twice.
Share what you have received from Him. Share what you have received from his grace. Share your daily bread. Pray daily to receive and be ready to give.
Jesus in the Eucharist is the self giving bread who does not hold back on giving himself for everyone who stands in that line of sinners and approaches the altar to receive the bread from heaven. He is king, but a king with a crown of thorns.
Does it hurt to be broken and eaten by the people in your life? Why not to look at him and find in his life the strength to continue being bread for others?
Will you be broken...
Reflections of faith
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