Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1Kngs 12:26-32; 13:33-34
Jeroboam thought to himself: “The kingdom will return to David’s house. If now this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, the hearts of this people will return to their master, Rehoboam, king of Judah, and they will kill me.” After taking counsel, the king made two calves of gold and said to the people: “You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here is your God, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” And he put one in Bethel, the other in Dan. This led to sin, because the people frequented those calves in Bethel and in Dan. He also built temples on the high places and made priests from among the people who were not Levites. Jeroboam established a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month to duplicate in Bethel the pilgrimage feast of Judah, with sacrifices to the calves he had made; and he stationed in Bethel priests of the high places he had built. Jeroboam did not give up his evil ways after this, but again made priests for the high places from among the common people. Whoever desired it was consecrated and became a priest of the high places. This was a sin on the part of the house of Jeroboam for which it was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth.
Gospel: Mk 8:1-10
In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.” His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
MY HEART IS MOVED WITH PITY FOR THE CROWD: Jeroboam is acting in fear and placing himself and the Israelites in the worship of idols. They fail to see God’s love and pity that has brought them this far. In the Gospel, we see the manifestation of the divinity of Jesus in the miracle of feeding of the four thousand, and often fail to see the tender love and pity from Jesus. Jesus says, “My heart is moved with pity.” If we fail to experience the heartbeat of Jesus moved with pity for the hungry, we ignore the incarnation. This same Jesus who is moved with pity for the hungry says in the last judgment, ‘when you serve the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the prisoner you do it to me’. Jesus identifies himself with the poor and the needy. As followers of Christ do we feel the pulse, the heartbeat of Jesus and translate them into action?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to see you in the poor and needy and serve you by serving them.
THE DIVINE IMPACT: Jesus is satisfying the most basic of human needs, hunger. He can neither wish it away nor close His eyes to this reality. In the same way, each of us is given a blank page on which to sign. On it, each of us has to write an own song in the same way that other creatures are doing. Pay attention to mother bird who flies down on her nest and finds a group of little chicks clamouring with wide open mouths. She tends the strong and the weak. In this way she writes her story. More than the birds, God feeds all those who call up to him. Ours is to say like the psalmist, “I lift up my eyes to the hills- from where my help comes? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps 121:1-2). Despite this assurance, we fail to move higher than ourselves; we get confined and closed within our egos. We hinder the seed in us from sprouting, and the flower from releasing its fragrance. We fail to write our story leaving our lives absurd and not worth living. Let us allow God to work in us.
GIVE AND RECEIVE IN ABUNDANCE: Large crowds continue to follow Jesus everywhere he goes. Again, in the gospel text, Jesus takes what is available, and distributes the food to the crowd. Everyone ate and was filled. The feeding stories have layers of meaning to include Jesus’ ability to provide what you need from what you bring him. In both cases, everything they had was given to Jesus. In this case, a mere seven loaves of bread. These were most likely small barley loaves, which makes the miracle that much more miraculous. The other thing that means something in the context of the story is the location. The desert and the wilderness are places of demons and evil. The wildness of the woods was outside the safety of the city and not a place people went. The fact that Jesus retreated there, and people followed tells us what kind of magnetic power he had on them! What type of power do I exercise over people?