Posts Tagged ‘giving thanks’

Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, February 10, 2018 — Feeding the Multitude with Loaves and Fish

February 9, 2018

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, Virgin
Lectionary: 334

Image may contain: 2 people, outdoor

Feeding the Multitude by Bernardo Strozzi, early 17th century.

Reading 1 1 KGS12:26-32; 13:33-34

Jeroboam thought to himself:
“The kingdom will return to David’s house.
If now this people go up to offer sacrifices
in the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem,
the hearts of this people will return to their master,
Rehoboam, king of Judah,
and they will kill me.”
After taking counsel, the king made two calves of gold
and said to the people:
“You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough.
Here is your God, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”
And he put one in Bethel, the other in Dan.
This led to sin, because the people frequented those calves
in Bethel and in Dan.
He also built temples on the high places
and made priests from among the people who were not Levites.
Jeroboam established a feast in the eighth month
on the fifteenth day of the month
to duplicate in Bethel the pilgrimage feast of Judah,
with sacrifices to the calves he had made;
and he stationed in Bethel priests of the high places he had built.Jeroboam did not give up his evil ways after this,
but again made priests for the high places
from among the common people.
Whoever desired it was consecrated
and became a priest of the high places.
This was a sin on the part of the house of Jeroboam
for which it was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth.

Responsorial Psalm PS 106:6-7AB, 19-20, 21-22

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
We have sinned, we and our fathers;
we have committed crimes; we have done wrong.
Our fathers in Egypt
considered not your wonders.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

AlleluiaMT 4:4B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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Gospel MK 8:1-10

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They replied, “Seven.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.


First Thoughts from Peace and Freedom
Look at the words: Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given.
This is what Jesus does. This is what Jesus did with the loaves and the fish — and this is what Jesus does again at The Last Supper.
Jesus does this over and over again in the Mass — and with us in our lives.
Whenever we are broken we can return to Him. We can be taken, blessed, broken and given back to Him.
Archbishop Goh has said, “Without hope, everything will end in nihilism.”
Nihilism says that life is without objective meaning. Nothing could be further from the truth if we follow Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
Our thanks and prayers go out to Fr. Henri Nouwen who has been my excellent teacher.
Fr. Henri Nouwen

In Henri Nouwen’s book “Life of the Beloved” he outlines four words that he believes are central to the spiritual lives of Christians,

“To identify the movements of the Spirit in our lives, I have found it helpful to use for words: taken, blessed, broken and given. These words summarize my life as a priest because each day, when I come together around the table with members of my community, I take bread, bless it, break it and give it. These words also summarize my life as a Christian, because, as a Christian, I am called to become bread for the world: break that is taken, blessed, broken and given. Most importantly, however, they summarize my life as a human being because in every moment of my life somewhere, somehow the taking, the blessings, the breaking and the giving are happening.” (Life of the Beloved, 41-42)

The radical difference between the way God works and the way the world works is that the world only uses 2 of the four. The world takes and breaks with no idea of how to bless and give. Praise God that we have a Father who knows us and loves us enough to give us exactly what we need and then turn right around and use us to be a blessing to others through the experiences we have walking with God…being taken by him, blessed by him, experiencing brokenness through him and with him and then being given for others.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had blessed it, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” – Matthew 26:26

Nouwen says, we are now that bread….


Commentary on Mark 8:1-10 from Living Space


Today we have the second of two multiplication stories found in Mark. The first with 5,000 people was in a predominantly Jewish area while this one with 4,000 people is in mainly Gentile territory. Jesus is reaching out to both groups. The people have nothing to eat and are hungry. The meaning is both physical and spiritual.

Once again we see Mark indicating the emotional response of Jesus. He is filled with compassion for the people in their need. “I feel compassion for all these people… If I send them off home hungry they will collapse on the way… Some have come a great distance.”

They will collapse “on the way”, on the road. Jesus is the Way, the Road. To walk the road of Jesus, we need a certain kind of nourishment. This is what Jesus came to give.

The disciples, interpreting Jesus literally, as they usually do, ask: “Where could anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted place like this?” In the presence of Jesus, the question answers itself but the disciples have not yet clicked. In Mark’s gospel they are often shown to be without an understanding of just who their Master is. That is because they represent us.

The disciples are asked what they can supply. Seven loaves and a few fish is all they have.

There is a strong eucharistic element in this, as in the former story. The people are told to sit down. “He took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks (eucharistesas, ’ eucaristhsas in the Greek), he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute. And they distributed them among the crowd.”

Again we note that Jesus himself does not give out the food the people need. It comes from him but his distributed by his disciples. The same is today. It is our task to feed the hungry – both physically and spiritually. All were filled – 4,000 people altogether – and even so there were seven (a perfect number) baskets left over. A sign of God’s abundance shared with his people.

Again, as before, “He sent them away and, immediately, getting into the boat with his

disciples, went to the region of Dalmanutha”, back to Jewish territory. Jesus was leaving no room for any misinterpretations of what he had done. The disciples too are quickly removed from the scene. There was to be no self-congratulation or glorying in their connections with Jesus the wonder worker. Through the miracle the teaching had been given and that was it.

Lord, teach me to serve you as you deserve;

to give and not to count the cost;

to fight and not to heed the wounds;

to labour and seek no reward

save that of knowing that I do your holy will.





Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
10 FEBRUARY, 2018, Saturday, 5th Week, Ordinary Time

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ 1 KGS 12:26-3213:33-34PS 106:6-719-22MK 8:1-10  ]

Today’s readings should lead us to reflect on the close link between sickness and sin, whether remotely or proximately.  Sin is alienation from God and from each other.  As a result of our loss of focus, man has usurped the place of God and made himself a god.  That means he can no longer depend on anyone but himself.  Inevitably, he loses his balance in life and all integrity within himself and his relationship with the world.  This has brought about his bodily illness because there is a lack of integrity between his mind, body and spirit. The loss of the preternatural gifts, resulting in death, pain, ignorance and concupiscence, is the consequence of Adam’s disobedience.  Seduced and misled by the serpent who said to his wife Eve, “You will not certainly die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:4-5), his pride caused him to deceive himself into thinking that he can do without God.

The sin of the Israelites is the same sin as that of Adam’s.  It is a repetition of the sin of pride and disobedience.  Already in the Book of Exodus, we read how the Israelites made for themselves a golden calf whilst Moses was meeting the Lord at the Mountain.  Again, we see this same attempt of Jeroboam.  He “made two golden calves; he said to the people, ‘You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough.  Here are your gods, Israel; these brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”  It was out of ambition, fear and selfishness that he turned away from the true God of Israel and erected his own sanctuaries, altars for sacrifices, appointed his own priests that were not of the Levi tribe.  He did all these to prevent his people from going to Jerusalem for fear that the people might return to the Kingdom of David.  So to restrain contacts between his people and those of Judah, he duplicated the shrines purely for his self-interest.  As a result, he led his people to sin, as their religion and worship became contaminated and diluted by pagan influences.  When God is abandoned, sin increases.  There is no greater sin than the sin of idolatry, for the sin of Adam is in fact the sin of idolatry.  Anyone who worships himself is committing the sin of idolatry, which will lead to every other sin.

It was for this reason that Christ come.  He came to reconcile us with God so that we can find focus in life again.  He came to show us who His Father really is.  He came to reveal to us the mercy and compassion of God.   Indeed, the healing ministry was central to the life of Jesus.  His healing miracles were signs that He has come to overthrow the reign of Satan and destroy sin.  The miracles of Jesus were, on one hand, the expression of God’s compassion for His suffering and afflicted people.  On the other hand, it was also a demonstration of the power of the Spirit at work in Jesus manifesting the divine presence in Him.  By healing the sick, which is the consequence of original sin and also quite often the fruits of our own personal sins, it shows that God has come to restore us.  By living a foolish, selfish, self-centered, ill-disciplined and wanton life, we cannot but bring misery upon ourselves and even our loved ones.  St Paul, warning the Galatians about living a licentious life, wrote, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”  (Gal 6:7-8)

Jesus came to teach us about God’s love and the way to live a life of love and service.  This is brought out in today’s gospel story.  By the act of multiplying the loaves for the Seven Thousand, Jesus wanted the crowd to know that only God can satisfy their spiritual and physical hunger completely.  And when God gives, He gives abundantly, beyond human calculation.  This was what the disciples learnt in this miracle.  When they were wondering how to feed so many people, Jesus worked this miracle to let them know that He is the Bread of Life.  Just as God gave manna to their fathers in the desert, so now Jesus, the Bread of life, is doing the same by feeding them in a deserted place.

Accordingly, the best place to be healed is in the Eucharist.  Many Catholics who are seeking spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological healing fail to realize that they have the greatest means of healing before them, namely, the Eucharist.  Being the real presence of our Risen Lord, the Eucharist has the power to transmit the healing grace of God.  At every mass, just before the reception of Holy Communion, we repeat the words of the Centurion, saying, “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”  Indeed, since Jesus is personally present in the Eucharist, He too can heal us the way He healed the sick when He was in His earthly life at Palestine.

Today, as in the days of old, there are so many people who need healing from all kinds of illnesses. Like the apostles, we too ask: how can we find the strength and resources to help them?   The answer of course is to bring Jesus to them.  And what better way to do this than to give them the Eucharist, the presence of Jesus par excellence.  As the gospel tells us, after Jesus multiplied the loaves for them, they ate their fill and still they collected seven basket loads of leftover.  So with Jesus, all can be satisfied.

But how is this so?  Faith in the healing power of the Eucharist must not be reduced to mere superstition.  We must keep the unity between the Word and the Sacrament.  The gospel tells us that Jesus taught them for three days before He broke bread for them.  In other words, before we can celebrate the sacrament of the Eucharist, we must be converted in the mind through careful listening of the Word of God.  Unless the mind is renewed and converted, the heart cannot be changed.  Unless a person is brought to repentance and contrition, no effective healing can take place, and even if it does, the person will once again be wounded emotionally, psychologically and physically by his sins.  But if the mind is renewed and the heart is converted, then the person will avoid falling into sin again and save himself from the effects of sin.  Furthermore, unless we have heard the Word, then we can in faith recognize Jesus in the Eucharist.  This means that we must keep that integral and balanced unity between the celebration of the Word and the Sacrament.  Sometimes, we tend to overemphasize the Word at the expense of the Sacrament; or conversely, emphasize the sacrament and neglect to attentively listen to the Word of God proclaimed at mass.

In the final analysis, we must ask whether we have encountered Jesus, the Word made Flesh, incarnated in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.  If we fail to have a personal faith encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, then the Eucharist cannot feed us or heal us.  Once we encounter Jesus, we will be healed physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.   Encounter with the person of Jesus will heal all our wounds.

However, the healing grace of the Eucharist extends beyond the reception of the sacrament.  We become what we eat.  So we become more like Jesus when we receive Him, putting on His mind and heart.  In turn we too become mediators of Christ’s love and compassion to others.  Like Jesus, we will also become healers ourselves, reaching out to others who are as wounded as we were.  Like Jesus, we too must in turn be motivated by pastoral charity, shown concretely in our actions, our compassion for them in their sufferings and needs.

For this to happen, we need priests chosen by the Lord.  If the Eucharist is the summit of the Church’s liturgy and life, then without priests, we will not have the Eucharist.  That is why we must continue to pray for young men to have the courage and generosity to give themselves to the priesthood.  Without the Eucharist, the people of God would be like those Seven Thousand, hungry for food.  Priests are chosen by God, not by men, as what Jeroboam did.  He tried to dissuade his people from going to the Temple of Jerusalem by erecting his own temples, appointing priests who were not from the tribe of Levi and established his own feasts.  The truth is that just because he was doing and imitating what was being done at the Temple of Jerusalem, it does not mean that he could bring about the presence of God for the people.  Similarly, without ordained ministers, the people of God will be impoverished and be deprived of the healing grace that comes from the Eucharist.  Let us therefore seek a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist, and at the same time pray for an increase of holy priestly vocations.

Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore 



Could More NFL Players Join Colin Kaepernick’s Protest? — Without African Americans there is no NFL

August 30, 2016

The 49ers quarterback won’t stand for the national anthem anymore.  Stephen Lam / Reuters

By Matt Vasilogambros
AUG 29, 2016 NEWS

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem before games as a protest against recent high-profile incidents of police brutality and racial injustice have been met with criticism and protests, but is an important step for a league where professional athletes rarely speak out on such issues.

Kaepernick was noticed sitting down during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” in a preseason game Friday. When asked by a reporter about his actions, he said:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

The NFL does not require its athletes stand for the national anthem, and, indeed, the 49ers said it was within Kaepernick’s right to not participate. But some coaches say they expect members of their team to stand, regardless of their personal feelings. It’s a delicate line that Rex Ryan, the Buffalo Bills head coach, addressed in a Sunday news conference:

Anytime I talk to my team about that, if there’s personal beliefs or whatever that keep you from doing it, I understand. But at the same time, you know, you’ve got to look at the gifts that we have, the opportunity that we have to play a great game is through the men and women that serve our country. I think that’s an opportunity right there just to show respect, and I think that’s why when you see our team, every one of us are on that line and that’s kind of our way of giving thanks.

Reaction to Kaepernick’s actions were largely negative and included people burning his jerseys. Pro athletes in other leagues have expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matters movement. NBA stars famously protested the killings of unarmed black men by white officers, as did their counterparts in the WNBA; even Michael Jordan, who was notoriously taciturn about politics during his playing days, has weighed in. But this is an important moment for professional football: one of the league’s stars is speaking out on social-justice issues, something that is rare in the NFL.

Earlier this month, Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback, said more athletes should speak out on critical issues. But stopping them is the NFL’s culture, he said. He told ESPN:

I think some guys in the NFL are probably worried about repercussions on speaking their mind from the league … I think if more guys maybe did in our league, it would create a domino effect possibly.
But could more athletes join Kaepernick’s protest?

Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres said Monday he plans to sit during the national anthem in a preseason game later this week. Racial injustice is too important to ignore, he told ESPN.

We’ve got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up. We’ve got that right. There’s just a lot going on that people don’t want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we’re looked at as role models.

This is a risky move by Tavarres, who is fighting for one of the limited spots of the team. But as he put to ESPN, he’s “got nothing to lose,” since he hasn’t signed any major contract or endorsement deal. Kaepernick, on the other hand, has a six-year, $114 million contract. What is at stake, Tavarres says, is his pride as a black man.

While Tavarres is the only football player to come out and join Kaepernick in protest, more athletes could join.

Athletes have the ability to bring important issues to the national stage. Kaepernick’s actions have even brought on a debate surrounding “The Star Spangled Banner,” as well, with several authors bringing up the song’s ties to slavery. It shows how powerful a moment it is when professional athletes speak up and take political stands.


Want A Better Life? Take A Moment For Gratitude

October 13, 2013


Sunday,  October 13th, 2013

The story is told about a group of wives who were instructed during a  recollection to send a message of gratitude to their respective husbands. These  are some of the responses that the women received: “Are you sick?” “Do you need  anything?” “Can you repeat your message, please?” The best one was: “Who you?”

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Lk. 17,11-19), Jesus teaches us the value of gratitude and  how often we forget or take it for granted in our lives. “Ten were cleansed,  were they not? Where are the other nine?” All too often we focus on what is  missing, and forget to thank God for our blessings.

* * *

Gratitude is the best attitude. If you can be grateful for everything and  everyone in your life, blessed are you. If you can say “Thank you, Lord!” to all  that life has given or is giving you, good or bad, happy or sad, then you are  free from regrets, worries, fears, and hopelessness.

* * *

I am edified wherever I encounter people who live grateful lives, and who are  already on “payback” mode. I am disappointed when I meet people who live  stressful lives and who are still on “hoarding” mode. There is no fixed ceiling  when “payback” time begins, and when “hoarding” time ends. It is a choice each  one of us can make at any time of our lives.

* * *

“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” These  words from Jesus are the basis for a grateful life. It is faith and trust in God  that make us say “Thank you, Lord!” no matter what. Why? Because we believe that  this God is a God who loves us and who knows what is best for us, and a God who  is in control of everything and of everyone. It is faith that frees us from our  fears and cares, and helps us to stand up, go, and move on.

* * *

There are a lot of things we cannot understand or  explain in our lives. There are a lot beyond our control, too, so if you are a  “control freak,” sooner or later you may become stressed or discouraged and may  end up distressed. The sooner we let go of the game called control, the better.  May we be given the gift to see life as a gift, a mission, and a lifetime full  of gratitude and appreciation.

* * *

Today is Indigenous People’s Sunday. When I was a  seminarian I experienced living with our Mangyan brothers and sisters in  Oriental Mindoro. I learned so much from that encounter, especially their value  of gratitude. Whenever we gave them something, they didn’t grab it with their  hands; they just opened their hands and received whatever was given, along with  a sincere “salamat po” and a grateful smile.

* * *

Our God is the God of all. His love is for all, and His  love is inclusive, not exclusive. May the Lord free us from whatever physical,  cultural, economic, political, and religious biases. We have much to learn from  each other. We must learn first and foremost to respect and listen to each  other. We are brothers and sisters, and there are no greater or lesser ones  among us.

* * *

Worse than physical leprosy is the political leprosy  that has been caught by our political system and government. It all starts with  greed, and greed is caused by lack of values and faith. In the time of Jesus,  lepers were

outcasts of society. Nowadays, our political lepers are  well-entrenched in the very halls of the administrative, judicial and  legislative branches of our government.


* * *

“Count your blessings!” How often have we heard this  and yet do not practice it? Worse than that, there are people who take this  literally to mean counting their money every night! To them we say, share your  blessings. Better still, be a blessing and be a source of blessings to others.

* * *

Those who have experienced healing, forgiveness,  deliverance, or prosperity must not forget to look up with gratitude. Do not  forget also to look around you and help in any way you can. Remember, those who  have been given surprises and second chances must not waste their opportunity to  become better persons.

* * *

Thought for the journey: “The finest hour in our life  is when we have done good things to nameless people without expecting them to  remember our acts of love and kindness.  The mathematics of life is not the  multiplication of wealth, but the division of tasks, subtraction of greed, and  addition of humility.”

* * *

Sharing with you my daily prayer: “Lord, I gratefully,  lovingly, and joyfully trust in you and I entrust everything and everyone to  you. Amen.”

* * *

For those preparing for marriage, or encountering  marital problems, you are invited to join a Psychogenetics-Gestalt retreat at  St. John the Baptist Retreat House in Tagaytay City. Please contact Gabay sa  Paghilom Foundation at, 09178092849, 09178410398, or  09178360305.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to live a grateful and joyful life. Amen.

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Pope: You cannot proclaim the Gospel if you are a ‘slave to sorrow’

June 2, 2013

The Pope prays after a Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

The Pope prays after a Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

It is impossible to proclaim Jesus if you are a “slave” to your sorrows, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning.

According to Vatican Radio, he said: “It’s the Spirit that guides us: He is the author of joy, the Creator of joy. And this joy in the Holy Spirit gives us true Christian freedom. Without joy, we Christians cannot become free, we become slaves to our sorrows. The great Paul VI said that you cannot advance the Gospel with sad, hopeless, discouraged Christians. You cannot. A certain mournful behaviour, no?


Catholic Herald (UK)

Catholic Herald

“Often Christians behave as if they were going to a funeral procession rather than to praise God, no? And this joy comes from praise, Mary’s praise, this praise that Zephaniah speaks of, Simeon and Anna’s praise: this praise of God!”

Addressing the congregation at the Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, he said: “You here at Mass, do you give praise to God or do you only petition God and thank God? Do you praise God? This is something new, new in our new spiritual life. Giving praise to God, coming out of ourselves to give praise; spending a little bit of time giving praise.

“But ‘this Mass is so long!’ If you do not praise God, you will never know the gratuity of spending time praising God, the Mass is long. But if you go with this attitude of joy, of praise to God, that is beautiful! This is what eternity will be: giving praise to God! And that will not be boring: it will be beautiful! This joy makes us free. ”

The Pope concluded by saying that Mary brings the greatest joy, which is Jesus.

He said: “We need to pray to Our Lady, so that bringing Jesus gives us the grace of joy, the joy of freedom. He concluded by what the Church says: ‘Lady, thou who art so great, visit us and give us joy.’”