Monday, August 5, 2013

Gospel Reflection

August 05, 2013
Monday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Richard James Babao
Vice Minister, Archdiocesan Ministry on Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs & Assistant Priest, Ina ng Laging Saklolo Parish, Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila
12:15PM Mass at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (Megamall Chapel)

Reading 1 Nm 11:4b-15

The children of Israel lamented, “Would that we had meat for food! We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now we are famished; we see nothing before us but this manna.”

Manna was like coriander seed and had the color of resin. When they had gone about and gathered it up, the people would grind it between millstones or pound it in a mortar, then cook it in a pot and make it into loaves, which tasted like cakes made with oil. At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell.

When Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents, so that the LORD became very angry, he was grieved. “Why do you treat your servant so badly?” Moses asked the LORD. “Why are you so displeased with me that you burden me with all this people? Was it I who conceived all this people?  Or was it I who gave them birth, that you tell me to carry them at my bosom, like a foster father carrying an infant, to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers? Where can I get meat to give to all this people? For they are crying to me, ‘Give us meat for our food.’ I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face this distress.”


Responsorial Psalm PS 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. (2a) Sing with joy to God our help.
“My people heard not my voice,
and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
they walked according to their own counsels.”
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
“If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
against their foes I would turn my hand.”
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
“Those who hated the LORD would seek to flatter me,
but their fate would endure forever,
While Israel I would feed with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”
R. Sing with joy to God our help.


Gospel Mt 14:13-21

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him 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.” He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.


It is easy to understand the concern of the disciples of Jesus. They had concern with the people. But I think what they lack, as Jesus was telling them, is that, when people come to us for help, sometimes it is easy for us to refer them to others. If people seek our help, sometimes we refer them to foundations, to other groups who are willing to help. And it is easier that way.

But Jesus, in the Gospel, is saying that sometimes, we have to utilize whatever resources we have first, before we push others away and let them go to other people. The disciples in the Gospel, have been with Jesus, but they may have forgotten what they learned from Jesus when they were together. Sometimes, if we just look at our own resources, we see how little they are. But if we look at the vastness, the goodness of the graces of God, we will know that is far beyond we can ever imagine.

If yesterday's Gospel talked about material possessions, greed and selfishness, today, God is asking us to look at how generous God is, with us. If only we have the eyes and try to see. If only we see what is with us, and not what is lacking, then we will see the gifts and blessings of the Lord. If only the Israelites realized their blessings, with the manna that the Lord gave them. Perhaps, if they were Filipinos, somehow they will manage to be thankful, that at least, they have something to eat.  

My dear brothers and sisters, if we make the blessings of the Lord work in our lives, it is easier to be generous to people. It is easier to see how our blessings can make the lives of others better. Amen.

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