Weekly Gospel Reflection—03 August 2014
When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.”
They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.”
He said, “Bring them here to me.” He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten.
My heart is heavy.
Currently, there are over 50,000 children at the U.S. border. Some people claim that they’re illegal aliens. Other people claim that their refugees. The thing that sticks out in my head, the thing that seems to get over-looked is that they’re our brothers and sisters in need. Too often, the clamour from the crowds of citizens is that of the disciples, “Send them away…”
How can this be? While I’m sure that the issues are more complicated than I realize, I also think they’re as simple as I imagine.
These are people seeking help. How can we turn them away? How can we hold our head high and claim to be following Jesus when we turn away those who are the least among us?
I just don’t understand.
Of course, the quick reply is, “Why don’t you take them in and help them?” Believe me, I would if I could. My family has always been the type to help those in need.
But that’s not the issue. The issue is the hatred — in the name of Jesus, mind you — being spewed out to our brothers and sisters. We only seem to be concerned with our own (but we really don’t care about the least among us, either).
Honestly, it comes down to the fact that we just don’t want to be bothered. We want our own stuff and we don’t want to give it to anyone else.
There’s a word for that. And it’s an ugly word. Greed. Plain and simple. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that we are acting like Jesus. In fact, Jesus’ harshest words were leveled at the self-righteous of his own time.
Let’s not lie to ourselves and claim that Jesus would do the same thing. He wouldn’t. He didn’t. As the story above tells us, Jesus fed the multitude. And, “Everyone ate until they were full.”
If our concern isn’t for the welfare of everyone, then we aren’t acting like Jesus.
As James tells us:
Someone might claim, “You have faith and I have action.” But how can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action…[A] person is shown to be righteous through faithful actions and not through faith alone...As the lifeless body is dead, so faith without actions is dead (James 2.18, 24, 26; CEB).
In other words, if we’re going to claim to be faithful followers of Jesus, then our actions must reflect that declaration. If they don’t, then we need to re-examine the Jesus we’re following. I think we’ll find that it’s a Jesus of our own making and not the one we read of in the Bible.
God have mercy upon us.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC