Living the Gospel – July 29, 2018

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Today I would like to focus on the Gospel and bring in a little from the first two readings. The gospel reading today is so powerful, we just need to let it sink in. It is a message that we all need to listen to, reflect on, then follow through with. The message is very similar to many other accounts we read about Jesus. The large crowd followed Jesus across the Sea of Galilee because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. After doing so Jesus went up the mountain and sat down with his disciples, but even after doing this He realized the crowd was still coming near to him. Seeing the crowd gathering and growing he then asked Philip “Where can you buy enough food for them to eat?” This was really more of a rhetorical question from Jesus as he knew where the food would come from. Philip answers that even with 6 months’ worth of wages we couldn’t buy enough food. You have to remember there were about 5000 men in total (plus women and children.) Can you imagine seeing enough people to fill the Broome County Arena – more than TWICE – and someone turns to you and asks, “Can you find some food to feed them?” Andrew now steps in and says, “There is a boy here with five barley loaves and two fish.” When he said this did Philip think “What are we going to do with that to feed all these people?” I often think he did since he acted like there was no answer when Jesus told them to get some food. But despite what any of them thought, Jesus has the people settle in and takes the small offering, gives thanks and has his disciples distribute the food to the waiting crowd. When everyone was fed the remaining fragments filled 12 wicker baskets! The moral to this story, even seemingly impossible tasks are possible with Jesus by our side. When Jesus is a part of who you are, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, anything God calls you to do, regardless of how daunting the task may seem, is possible. If Jesus was not there and was not a part of them, do you think it would have been possible to feed all the people, with scraps left over? If we doubt like Philip did, even with Jesus there, we will never be able to do what God is calling us to do. We are all, 100% of us, gifted and talented in something. We have all received spiritual gifts to do God’s work here on earth, but if we do not submit to God and know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will never be able to accomplish what God is calling us to do with our gifts. There is a great line in the second reading – “I a prisoner of the Lord”. We think of being a prisoner as something bad, but Paul is referring to the fact that he is under the Lord’s control. Are we? Are we submitting to God or do we just come to church to check a box? It is so important that we become prisoners of the Lord and give our lives completely to him. Jesus expects us to do things in his name such as feed the hungry and visit the sick. We are to serve those less fortunate than ourselves. But even when we serve we must be careful that we are doing it for the Lord and not for human recognition. A good question we need to ask ourselves to see if we are doing what Jesus called us to do is ”Am I more concerned with others than I am with myself?” Without this mindset, without Jesus Christ in our hearts, we will never hear the words we should all be longing to hear one day “Well done good and faithful servant.” If you never have, let this be the day that you give your life to Jesus and serve him.