Tuesday after Epiphany
1st Reading: 1Jn 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Gospel: Mk 6:34-44
When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.
MOVED WITH PITY: What impelled the disciples to answer in that way, when they were asked to provide for the crowd? Was it the inner egoistic tendency to preserve for own survival, ignoring the survival of the other majority? Jesus neither accepts nor welcomes this response. Instead he demonstrates that we all survive because God, in his love for us, is constantly moved with compassion. Due to this, He sent his Son to and for us. Jesus expresses this passion through sharing a meal. Many of us easily lose this gesture of kindness, which is a concern for the others – loving one another. True love is therefore, manifested in those who share their life with others. True love gives itself, neither in return for what has been given nor in order to get as much again. How do we respond, when asked to assist?
Prayer: Grant us Lord the spirit of sharing even the little we have through compassion and love for others.
CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST: “Love comes from God”, St. John continues to repeat. It is the immortal message of Christ and His Church. We may be chasing after love that apparently comes from material possessions, bodily pleasures and world enticements. But this kind of “worldly love” only leaves us wanting. It further pushes us into hunger, sickness and all sorts of slavery and evil. Jesus is the love of the Father; he came out of love for us and he taught us how to love. Hence, the miracle in the gospel is a figure of the Holy Eucharist. In this miracle Jesus shows his supernatural power and his love for men the same power and love as to make it possible for Christ’s one and only body to be present in the eucharistic species to nourish the faithful down the centuries. He continues to feed us when we are hungry. He feeds us out of compassion and love. His food is everlasting and nourishing. Let us learn to love the Eucharist and make it loved everywhere.
HE IS LOVE INCARNATE: Jesus, looking at human need, is driven to compassion and performs miracles. He is, however, not to be mistaken for a mere miracle worker. He is God, and is in God, the true love. In 1Jn 4, we hear the words, “Beloved Let us love one another, because love is of God…God is Love”. The compassionate works of Jesus are a manifestation of this love; they are God in action. Jesus cannot stand people going hungry and being impoverished; He is Love incarnate, and that is His very nature. Today, we are called to follow this compassionate Christ. We have the poor around us all the time, let us not only react when there is a natural disaster. Our call today is to move from being occasional care givers to be lovers. Let us be like Jesus in His nature, conducting ourselves as persons driven by Love.