25 July 2012
SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle B, Year II (July 29, 2012)
2Kgs 4:42-44/Eph 4:1-6/Jn 6:1-15
Jesus and His disciples went to a deserted place to rest for a while but people from different places kept following them. Instead of resting, Jesus addressed their needs as He took pity on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd. After preaching to them and healing their sickness, Jesus became aware of their immediate basic need at that moment: the food. So, He asked Philip, His disciple coming from that place, this question: "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat? (Jn 6:5b)."
Jesus in the Man of God; He is actually God-made-man. His heart is a heart of God who loves the people created in His own image and likeness with unconditional love. He knew well that the people needed spiritual instructions for them to have strong and correct faith in God. Yet He also knew the physical needs of the people and for this reason He cured their sickness. More than these, He addressed their immediate need of food by performing the miracle of the loaves. Jesus Christ, as God, was genuinely concerned for the totality of the human person: the needs both of his spirit and body. On the other hand, the mission of Jesus Christ was fundamentally a spiritual man – the eternal salvation of humanity. For this reason, He did not basically focus His mission on addressing the social problems of that time but rather the spiritual needs of the people. He only addressed some physical needs of the people for the purpose of strengthening their faith in Him and preparing them for the spiritual instructions and guidance.
The Catholic Church continues the works of Christ. She is basically concerned with the spiritual needs of the people and for this reason, she focuses her missionary activities on evangelization and pastoral concerns of the faithful. On the other hand, the church has some organizations that cater the physical needs of the poor, the sick and the marginalized. The church, like Christ, does these activities to show that man is not only composed of spirit but also of body and to prepare the people for spiritual guidance. This supports the famous saying that "One cannot preach on an empty stomach." On the other hand, people are mistaken when they pass on to the church the obligations that belong to the government and other civil organizations: the basic needs of the people, the poverty of the mass, the conflicts among some groups, etc. We have to remember that the Church, imitating Christ in performing His mission, must focus more on her obligation towards the spiritual needs of the people. We must not then demand from the church the thing that is outside the main role of the Catholic Church.
We are all members of the Church of Christ and, as disciples of Christ, we must be working for our own eternal salvation and the salvation of our brothers and sisters. On the other hand, as citizens of our country, we have the obligation to give life to our faith by making our daily activities an expression of our faith in Christ. This means to say that the lay faithful have the obligation and not the church as an organization to address the physical needs of our poor brethren. This we must do first of all through our daily work. Whatever kind of work we may have – political career, business entrepreneur, medical field, government office, private corporation, etc., – we must do it for the glory of God by serving those who are in need. The obligation of the lay faithful is to address the physical needs of the community especially of the marginalized ones. On the other hand, the obligation of the church ministers is to strengthen the faith of the lay people through the teachings of Christ.
"Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" This question of Jesus awakens us to the truth that all of us must be genuinely concerned for the needs of our brethren, whether spiritual or physical. We have to address the physical needs of the poor but we must give more importance to the spiritual needs of the people in general and that whatever physical help that we give must be an expression of our love for God and must lead those whom we help to love God and have faith in Jesus Christ.
- 21/08/2012 08:28 - He Has Done All Things Well
- 21/08/2012 08:17 - Comandments of God VS Human Tradition
- 21/08/2012 08:07 - Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?
- 07/08/2012 06:19 - I Am The Bread Of Life
- 04/08/2012 13:26 - He Who Eats This Bread Will Live Forever
- 15/07/2012 17:54 - Come And Rest For A While
- 03/07/2012 15:05 - The Mission
- 03/07/2012 15:05 - A Prophet Without Honor
- 06/06/2012 19:49 - The Power Of Love
- 06/06/2012 19:47 - His Name Is John.