Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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When it was evening, the disciples approached [Jesus] and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away…”
When I read today’s Gospel passage, I immediately was reminded of Newton’s Laws of Motion.
A body at rest stays at rest…unless an external force is applied. The people were seated and nice and comfortable. The disciples were seated and nice and comfortable. The Lord applied an external force upon them: “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” This wasn’t the first time or the last time the Lord would apply some external force upon his followers. “Go! Go throughout the world…” “Get up! Get moving!”
This morning I celebrated Mass for approximately 700 high school students. I asked them what the Baptist and the Lord asked their followers: “What are you here for?” “What did you come out here to see?” (cf. Mt 11:9) “Are you here because you were feed?” (cf. Jn 6:26) Did you come here to make friends? Or to find a girl/boy friend? Or did you come here to allow the Lord to put some pressure on you? Go! Go back to your secular schools. Go back to your friends (believers and non-believers) and share the Good News with them! Don’t allow yourselves to become complacent or comfortable with what comes “natural.” No! Don’t spend all your time with just your friends or like minded individuals. We can’t sit back and relax. A body at rest tends to stay at rest. We need to stand up and get moving, for the Lord is pushing us out the door. How is He pushing us? By demanding obedience!
The beauty of obedience is found in its surprises! “Go throughout the world…” This is an invitation to be surprised. Do what very few have done before: forgive, give and love.
Christians struggle just like others, and are no different from others, except for the fact that we have allowed ourselves to be pushed into action by our Risen and “hidden” Lord.
F=ma. Newton corrected Aristotle’s earlier equation of F=mv (mass*velocity). He failed to appreciate the hidden role played by frictional forces.
Likewise, the Apostles failed to appreciate the hidden forces of Jesus Christ, who loved to cause some “friction” among his followers, especially when they protested and complained. “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here! How can we feed so many?”
5 loaves + 2 fish = 5000 men fed? What don’t you understand? Jesus Christ.
Let us unite ourselves to the Lord at all times. It isn’t enough to say, “WWJD” No! We must unite ourselves to the Lord; that is, when betrayed, unite yourself to the Lord’s betrayal. When crucified, unite yourself to the Lord’s passion. When your life has been sucked out of you, unite yourself to the Lord’s resurrection.
This is the “nuclear physics” of Jesus Christ, where so much power can be packed into one tiny Adam. And guess what? We are that Adam! We are a miniature version of the Big Bang! We are that Hidden Force!
How? What must we do? If you want to be first, then be last. If you want to be great, then be small. This is the “nuclear physics” of Jesus Christ that shatters the illusion and confusion of success and nobility.
What are you waiting for? What will separate you from the love of God? NOTHING! But don’t say it loudly. Say it with a deep voice and slowly: N-O-T-H-I-N-G. This way it sounds like something from the Purge – scary.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Where there is hatred, sow only love. Where there is indifference, sow only understanding and compassion. Where there is sin, sow only forgiveness. Evil is conquered by doing good (cf. Rm 12:21).
When God acts, all bets are off. Nothing is equal.
The Lord did not need anything from His followers. He didn’t need any loaves or fish. The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves was a lesson in inequality. The disciples gave the Lord five loaves and two fish and what did He do? He gave them right back with an few hundred loaves and fish. Lesson learned: The more you give, the more you receive. The story of the multiplication of the loaves is a working demonstration of happens when you give to the Lord your blessings: there is an unequal and overwhelming response by the Lord.
Hence, you don’t have to be a mom or a dad to love children. You don’t have to have a sister or a brother, to love your neighbor. You don’t even have to be a millionaire to give people what they need.
If you give the world right now your faith, your hope and your love, then you give them a fighting chance in this world, and a good start towards the next.
We know that energy is neither created nor destroyed but can change form. The same holds true of love. It is neither created nor destroyed but given to us in the person of Jesus Christ to be shared with others.
What will separate us from His love? N-O-T-H-I-N-G! (0)