God our Father,
gifts without measure flow from your goodness
to bring us your peace.
Our life is your gift.
Guide our life's journey,
for only your love makes us whole.
Keep us strong in your love.
The Hebrew Scriptures invite us to come and receive what we need, to come without cost into the generous love of our God. Everything that we have is a gift. As stated above, our very life is God's gift
Paul reminds us that there is nothing that can come between us and the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus. Nothing can or will stand in the way of his love finding a home in our lives, unless, of course, if we build a wall to shut it out ... but why would we shut out that which brings us peace and makes us whole.
Yet we so often seek answers and solutions to our problems apart from God. We struggle with our ways and ideas, propose our plans and approaches, and wonder why things just don't come together. Our government leaders are struggling to avert a financial crisis this week. Each group has a proposal, is convinced it is for the best, is reluctant to compromise. Their ultimate solution will be stop gap, at best. The stakes are enormous, the results, like the national debt, is astronomical, and the results are less than satisfying.
The challenge in the gospel story - a huge crowd of hungry people with no where to go to be fed - was met in the love of Christ Jesus for his people. The miracle of the feeding of the multitude was, in my mind, not the stuff of magic miracles, bread and fish multiplying in the baskets so that all would have enough. The real miracle was the selfless giving of the five loaves and two fish for the good of the whole ... the acknowledgment of thanks to the Father by Jesus ... and the sharing of the gift in trust. I believe that when the people saw that, when they remembered the words of love that they had heard, they reached into their lunch bags, into their hampers, and shared what they had. What they had was a gift from God, not for them alone, but for all. In the sharing they experienced love in action. A solution to an overwhelming challenge was found, and there were "left-overs" so bountiful that all could eat again.
Lord, keep us strong in your love, so that we might share your love and giftedness and transform our needy world into your bountiful kingdom.
This afternoon I shared with the people of Saint Hedwig Parish in Smock, PA, in our Diocese their 100th Anniversary Celebration as a parish. This small congregation in their little community church still has great Faith. Bishop Lawrence Brandt led the celebration along with their pastor (actually Administrator) Father Bob Lubic and their Senior Priest Active Father Jim Petrovsky. Congratulations. As the bishop commented, the singing and prayer at the liturgy was a fitting act of praise for blessings received over these years. Our diocese is filled with such coal mining patches and small ethnic parishes. It is one of our great strengths.