The Good News for the Day, August 7, 2017
Monday of the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time (408)
Today’s gospel (Monday) happens to be identical with yesterday’s (Sunday)
When Jesus heard about the death of John the Baptist, he retreated from the public—got in a boat and went to be alone in an isolated place. A significant number of people heard about this; they followed him on foot from their towns. When he got off the boat—and saw the number of people—his heart was moved with compassion for them; he cured their sick. When evening came, His close followers approached him, “This is a lonely area and it’s pretty late. Let the crowds go somewhere into the towns around here, and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; you yourselves give them some food.” They said, “Five loaves and a couple of fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me.” He directed the groups of people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the couple of fish—looking to heaven—He said the common blessing, broke the loaves—then gave the food to his close followers, who in turn gave it to the people. Everybody ate and were satisfied, and when they picked up the leftover fragments—twelve wicker baskets full! Those who ate numbered about five thousand men—not counting women and children. (Matthew 14)
Today consider you are there—you’re in the crowd. You came on foot, left you job as a leather-worker for Romans in Tiberias; you walked south along the seaside half a day to hear the new Preacher in Town. Got there—and he was taking a boat even further east…away from Romans and Jews alike to preach something new: “The kingdom of heaven is not some revolution, not some Messiah on a steed striking down occupiers. It is here,” He is saying. “It is in the goodness of your heart, the kindness of your actions, and the spirit of your difference.” (Me and my family are hungry, you’re thinking.) “What is right is sharing with your neighbor, breaking bread that you keep part—and you give part away.” (Like this—and he multiplies the loaves and fishes). That is how the Kingdom Works, he says—caring for others, sharing, giving—try it!