Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday of the Second Week of Easter

Jesus sees the vast crowd before him, people who followed him to hear his words and see miraculous actions. Jesus asks the disciples to feed the people with a small amount of food from a little boy: 5 loaves and two fish. In an action that has the “feel” of the Eucharist, Jesus has the people recline, a posture used when eating a meal, he gave thanks and distributed the meager loaves to the 5,000. All ate with enough leftovers to fill 12 baskets !!! There’s that number again: 12, pointing to the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles; a number of completion and fullness.

Wow!!! Jesys just fed 5,000 with a few loaves and fish, given by a little boy. How children make all the difference in the world... if only we let them. And then Jesus does something strange: he runs away from the crowd into seclusion because he knows what’s on their mind. They want to make him a “king,” a problem solver and miracle worker. Jesus will have none of this.

Yes indeed, Jesus worked miracles, not that the miracles should be the focus but that HE and his identity rooted in MISSION become center stage. We are to delve deeply within our own selves and let the Spirit free untapped reservoirs of creative energy, energy to “feed” the multitudes of humanity, not only food, but compassion, justice, mercy and love. We all have “inner resources” to make the Kingdom of Jesus a reality, a lived reality for everyone. Trust, rooted in faith and hard work, can make this happen.

While Jesus worked miracles, he did not cure everyone, he did not raise more than a couple of people from the dead, he did not “change stones into bread,” nor jump off high heights to be miraculously caught by angels. NO... he conquered evil and sin with love and humility. Jesus entered Jerusalem just before his death, not riding on a beautiful horse but sitting on a small donkey. The ultimate “power” he gave us was NOT the miracles (most of us haven’t experienced any miracle, in its traditional understanding, nor will we), but the Cross. Why didn’t he get off that Cross and show those in power who was boss? Why didn’t Jesus get down from the cross and vanquish the enemy? There is a part of us that would have loved for this to have happened. But this is clearly not the way of Jesus....

We “conquer” through a love that is never forced, or worse, violent. Humility and beatitude living are the foundational “building blocks” of the Kingdom of Jesus.

Mercy, poverty of spirit, justice, peace, purity of heart, facing rejection and persecution for Christ... these are the realities that change the world. Trying to live them out every day of our lives is miracle enough.

Fr. Frank