Archive for August, 2014

On Losing Your Life to Save It.

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jer 20: 7-9; Rom 12: 1-2; Matt 16: 21-27

Dc. Larry Brockman


Are you one of those people trying to save your life that Jesus is talking about?  It would seem you are- because we all are trying to keep alive no matter how old and feeble we may get, right.  And yet, Jesus says: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  What can that mean?   

Well, the key of course is the “for my sake” part of Jesus words.  We are encouraged to give up our lives for Jesus’ sake.  He is not talking so much about our physical life as he is our spiritual life.  But the spiritual life and the physical life are so intertwined that we have a problem understanding what that means.   

First of all, self-preservation is such a strong instinct, isn’t it?  And we wouldn’t be normal if we didn’t act that way.  No matter what is wrong with us physically, we have a basic instinct to do whatever it takes to keep alive.  There is nothing wrong with that to a point.  But there are times when our spiritual life is more important.  For example, notice that Peter called Jesus to the side and rebuked him for saying that he was going to die a terrible death on a cross.  Peter was thinking as all of us do about self-preservation.  And of course, why wouldn’t Jesus do whatever it took to stay alive, to avoid such a fate.   

But there is more to life than our physical lives.  We have a spiritual life; we have a destiny to live forever.  And to do that, we have got to believe in God and seek God’s will for us.  That’s what Paul is telling the Romans.  “Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect”.   

We are given a great example of what that means in today’s first reading.  Jeremiah was gifted with prophecy but it was a prophecy of gloom and doom.  When he spoke out for the Lord, and told the truth, he was thrown into a cistern and left for dead.  Certainly it would be easier, and better for his health, to just keep it to himself, to button up when he felt inspired by the Lord, because he knew that what the Lord wanted him to say was controversial.  And yet, as out reading shows, Jeremiah was compelled to speak out-  he was in tune with dying to self for the sake of doing God’s will. 

I suspect that all of us are tested in some way during our lives like Jeremiah was tested.  Some of these tests are clear and unmistakable- like the Sudanese Christian lady who was severely treated and almost executed just because she was Christian and wouldn’t convert to Islam.  The same with all those Iraqi Christians stranded on that Mountain top. But for most of us, the test is probably more subtle. 

We all have been taught our faith, but do we follow it when it is challenged?  Do we join the crowd and engage in gossip about someone, even though we know it is wrong?  Or do we walk away from someone in need because we don’t want to get involved, even when we feel that inner urge?  When the going gets tough and it isn’t convenient, does a young mother opt for life for her child or for an abortion?   Life is full of choices like these where we either show our faith by responding to God’s call to do His will, not our own; or we don’t respond to God’s call.   

Jesus tells us we must die to ourselves and pick up our crosses and follow him.  We don’t have to suffer and die on a cross.  But we do have to suffer the consequences of being a believer. 

Faithful and Prudent Vigilance

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Thursday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time

St. Augustine

1 Cor 1: 1-9; Matt 24: 42-51

Dc. Larry Brockman


Vigilant!   We must be vigilant at all times for the coming of the Lord.  But not only that, our vigilance must be characterized by faithfulness and prudence as we conduct our daily lives.  When you come right down to it, that’s a tall order.   

First, take the vigilance part.  Most of us “have a life”- work, school, raising kids, caring for others, volunteering.  So, there are lots of things we feel we are required to do.  And when we are not doing these required things, then we are trying to have fun for ourselves-  a little TV; sports; listening to music and relaxing; playing video games or reading; maybe even partying with others and doing our hobbies and interests.   

But Jesus says we need to be awake at all times for the coming!  Yes, Indeed, Jesus wants us to be ready at all times in our relationship with God, and that is challenging.  Between our responsibilities and our leisure, where is the time for God?   

Now in the Gospel, Jesus gives us a strong hint on what it means to be ready.  First, he talks about servants being ready; not people being ready.  That means he wants, even expects, all of us to serve him in some way, to be servants.  Clearly, taking care of our families and their needs are part of God’s plan; they are part of being a servant.  But sometimes we can spend so much time providing for our worldly needs, including our leisure, that we neglect our spiritual and some of our social needs.   

Jesus goes on to say that this servant needs to be both faithful and prudent.  To be sure, there are some people who are neither faithful nor prudent.  Some people shirk responsibility in favor of serving themselves; and some people are not prudent with their gifts and things of the world, doing things in excess and ignoring their relationship with God altogether.  That’s what the bad servant in the Gospel did.   

But most people are honestly trying to do what is right.  So what message is there for us?

One of the old Church Masters, Origen, has observed that people are either faithful or prudent; but rarely both.  There is a balance required there, and it is the essence of what Jesus is saying to us this morning.  We can be faithful in our commitment to our jobs, school, and others; but lack the wisdom and prudence to balance these things with the rest of our lives.  We can be faithful to our God in terms of what we believe; but lack wisdom and prudence in tempering the rule of law with the need to always love.  Jesus wants us to be both Faithful and Prudent at the same time; and that involves a balance; it is faithfulness but with a heart.   

In our first reading, Paul tells the Corinthians  He is confident that they are not lacking in any spiritual gift as they wait for the day of the Lord.  That is our challenge.  We must balance our responsibilities with our play.  And we must also be responsible in our faithfulness.  We need to know and serve God with faithfulness and prudence so that we will not lack in any spiritual gift as we wait for the day of the Lord.   

Dealing With Our Weaknesses

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Thursday of 19th Week
St. Maximilian Kolbe

Ez 12: 1-12; Mt 18: 21 – 19:1
Dc. Larry Brockman

All of us have these human weaknesses, things we know we shouldn’t do, like things we say over and over; habits we have; addictions we have; attitudes we have or things we do to others that we know irritate and even hurt them; like nagging, failing to listen, ignoring, dominating, or dismissing someone else’s feelings. We know they are wrong, and yes, sinful.  

And yet, much as we resolve to fix them, we fail over and over in our attempts to correct them.  We go to confession, face up to them, and honestly resolve to move on.  But then we go ahead and do them again. We don’t just ask God to forgive these things, we expect God to forgive these things over and over again. That is what God’s mercy is all about; it is part of our Christian hope. But when it comes to ourselves forgiving others; well, we have a problem forgiving someone else over and over again for these kinds of things.  Husbands and wives; parents and children; workers and bosses continually rub each other the wrong way with these kinds of behaviors, and we find it difficult to truly forgive each other for them.

 But you see, it is all part of God’s plan for us to learn how to take on the image and likeness of God, and act like Him too.  We are made in the image and likeness of God, including the free will He gave us.  And our journey here as human beings is a constant learning experience for us on how to balance our freedom of will with the other characteristics of the “image and likeness of God”.

Not the least of the characteristics we need to learn Is to learn how to be merciful as God is merciful to us.   I want to be clear that I am not condoning bad behavior by our loved ones, bosses, and society in general.  I am not saying that tolerating bad behavior is acceptable; only that it needs to be forgiven as God would forgive our bad behavior.  And that is the balance that we all need to learn because you see, our bad behavior has consequences,  And while God can forgive us, we still have to suffer the consequences of our behavior.

The story in the first reading emphasizes this all too well.  The Lord tells Ezekiel that the Israeli people have eyes and ears, but they are not seeing and hearing. They were ignoring the law and the word of the prophets.  That is because they were too preoccupied with themselves.  Isn’t that the problem with the people we are finding so hard to forgive because it is hardest to forgive them when they seem clueless
about the harm they are doing.  
It is much easier to forgive them when they are humble and
contrite, isn’t it.

The Israeli people of Ezekiel’s time turned a blind eye to the evil they were doing.  And so Ezekiel was charged with trying to wake them up before it was too late.  He was advising them of the consequences by catching their attention and demonstrating the consequences to them.  This in fact is the lesson we see over and over again in the Old Testament. People were complacent with the way they were living their lives.  They didn’t see how far adrift they were from God’s will for them and from giving God the attention He deserved.  And their complacency carried heavy consequences.

In Ezekiel’s day, the consequence was a terrible exile. But each of the prophets warned the people of his day of the similar doom for not living according to the Lord.

The Gospel story tells us the same thing about the servant and the master. God will indeed forgive us everything; but we too must forgive others the same way otherwise, our forgiveness is in jeopardy.

So, leave the consequences to God.  Our challenge is to forgive from the heart; even if we have to do it over and over again.

The Tiny Whispering Voice

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

19th Sunday Week in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a; Rom 9: 1-5; Mt 14: 22-33

Dc. Larry Brockman


Terrified! The disciples were stuck in the middle of the Lake, some 3 miles from shore working for hours against the wind, and tossed by the waves.  They were afraid their ship would be wrecked.  And this had gone on for hours- because relief didn’t come until the fourth watch- some 8 or 9 hours after they left Jesus.   They were experienced with boats; they knew what they were doing.  They trusted their own skills but they had worked themselves into a panic.  They were terrified!   

Just like the prophet Elijah in the first reading was.  Elijah had faithfully proclaimed the word of the Lord as it came to him; he had followed the directions of the Lord.  He had challenged the prophets of Baal in a standoff.  And it had resulted in a total humiliation of the prophets of Baal.  Baal was the god of Jezebel, who was married to the Israeli King.  When her god had been humiliated along with his prophets, Jezebel had ordered her husband’s soldiers to find and kill Elijah.  But Elijah ran for his life, escaped, and was hiding in a cave.  He too, was terrified because he didn’t know what to do.  He had done as the Lord bid him; and here he was in dire straits.   

Does either of these situations seem familiar?  Have any of you felt helpless against the forces of nature, almost in a panic as the Apostles were?  Perhaps abandoned, stranded, overcome by a hurricane or tornado, or down with an illness.  Have any of you been in a situation where it seemed like the whole world was against you?  Perhaps you were let go at work; you were let down by somebody; or you were persecuted for some reason.  Indeed, all of us have had moments like the Apostles and Elijah.  Life is like that for everyone.   

These are humbling experiences of life that all of us have.  And we learn a couple of things from these kinds of incidents.  First, we learn we are not in control, and second, we learn that we can’t do it all by ourselves.   

I suppose that in many of these incidents, we are just living life using the talents that God gave us.  We think we are in control and we think we can do it ourselves.  But the facts are that neither of these things is true- we are not in control and we cannot act alone.  We find that out fast enough when things build up against us.  We need Faith, Faith in the Lord always, faith that whatever happens, the Lord means the best for us.   

Peter expressed that Faith well by recognizing Jesus on the water.  That’s why he jumped in the water, and walked after him.  But when Peter wavered in his faith because of the ever present storm then he began to sink and needed Jesus to save him.  All of us, too, have Faith, but we can sometimes waver because the circumstances keep knocking on our door relentlessly.  And yet, it is only Faith that can and will sustain us.   

There is also something really fascinating about how the incident ends.  The storm disappears when Jesus gets in the boat.  Yes, indeed, when we really have God besides us, then the storm disappears.  We need God besides us at critical times.   

That’s what makes Elijah’s situation a little different.  Notice that Elijah recognized the need for God right from the beginning and so he was waiting for the word of the Lord.  But the Lord was not in the storm or the fire or the earthquake.  Rather, the Lord was in the tiny whispering sound.   

That is likely the way it will be for us.  If we have faith, and we are sincerely trusting in the Lord, we will probably not find the answer to our prayers in the storm or earthquake or fire that is going on around us.  Rather, we will find it in silence.  We have to stop whatever it is that we are doing as important as that may seem to be at the moment.  We have to stop and listen for the voice of God.   

It is called prayer, and we have got to make time for it.  We need to pray even when we think we are in control because we need Jesus there right beside us all the time to keep the storm under control.  And we need to find the time to pray even when we are busy because it is the highest priority we should have.   

Jesus had a tough day on the day that this miracle was performed.  He and his disciples buried Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist in the morning.  Then, they attempted to get away so Jesus could pray and reflect on his loss.  But the crowds followed him, and he ministered to them instead, working the miracle of the loaves and fish.  After that, he sent the Apostles on in the boat. Why? Because as late as it was, he still needed to go up the mountain and pray.  Then, after that prayer, he walked back to the shore, and some 3 miles out onto the water to his friend’s boat.  The human side of Jesus needed to pray; he needed the time with God.   How much more do we in our humanity need God in the moment of need. 

So when the going gets really tough, then it is time to pray. 

Listen for the tiny whispering sound.    

Hope From the Transfiguration

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Wednesday of 18th Week of Ordinary Time


 Mt 17: 1-9

Dc. Larry Brockman


Why don’t we take a little pilgrimage together today in our minds. We are going to go up the high mountain with Jesus. We are going along with Peter, James, and John and we are going to see the Lord Jesus transfigured before our very eyes! Then we are going to see what that means to us.


But first, a few words of background. Just before the transfiguration, Jesus had worked a miracle of tremendous magnitude. He had fed 5,000 men, which was really about 15,000 people by the time you include women and children, from just 5 loaves and 2 fish.  It was the only miracle recorded in all 4 Gospels.  Consider how huge this miracle must have been because 15,000 people was one third the population of all of Jerusalem at the time.


Having done such an impressive miracle, Jesus then asks his disciples who he is. Peter, answering for the Apostles, responds rightly that Jesus is the Messiah, and the Son of God. Jesus then tells His disciples that before He comes into His Glory, he must first suffer and die on the Cross. Peter is appalled at this suggestion, and calls Jesus to the side to rebuke Jesus for saying such a thing. In Peter’s mind, such suffering was not becoming for a man of such stature- the long awaited Messiah. And so Jesus remonstrates Peter, even calling him a Satan, for not understanding God’s plan! And so, for six days now Jesus has been revealing God’s plan to the disciples, a plan that includes suffering and death on the cross for Him before experiencing the Resurrection and the glory of the Kingdom of God.  He even tells the disciples their lot will be similar to His!


I am quite certain that by now God has revealed his plan for you.  Everyone here has had far more than six days to understand and appreciate that plan.  In fact, we have all been exposed to that plan for years, some of us 70 years or more, rather than 6 days.  You see, God plays a zero sum game with us.  That means, whatever you did in the past, all he is interested in is getting us to come over to his will in the future.  So, after 60, 70, 80 years, our path has become his path for those who believe and try to do his will.  To be sure, we have experienced joys and good things; but we have all had our share of trials and tribulations, and pains and suffering.  We have all had to make sacrifices to live our faith.  We can all appreciate Jesus’ words that the son of man must first suffer.  We all know that Peter was indeed mistaken when he rebuked Jesus and that Jesus was right.


But here we are, still living that path after all the years of trials and tribulations.  And most of us are not as limber as we once were.  So, how about the glory for us?  Can we have a glimpse of what is coming for all of us who have been faithful?  And will that make a difference?


During that six days after the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus did promise his disciples a glimpse of that Glory.  And the Transfiguration is the glimpse He gave them.  That glimpse of the coming glory represents hope; hope that by living the good news of the Gospel by accepting our crosses and making sacrifices accordingly.  Then we will be glorified with Jesus in the Kingdom to come.  And that glory will be so intense and last forever that any and all tribulations of life will pale by comparison.

So, let’s see if we can sense the glory to come by walking in the shoes of Peter, James and John as they experienced the Transfiguration some six days after they were promised a sign.


First, we are going to ascend a high mountain.  You people are going to have to work with me here on this part.  We aren’t going to be able to just walk peacefully up a ramp to get to the top of the mountain.  No sir!  We have to struggle to climb a high mountain.  It is a stretch; it is not easy; we will get tired and worn out.  For some of us, it has already been a 70 or 80 year climb.  That has been enough of a struggle and tiring enough hasn’t it.


Now notice that Jesus took just three of his disciples because that was the proper number for a legal witness to an event- three witnesses!  And there are three Gospel accounts of this event, also.  So, it’s legal! It has been officially witnessed that this happened.  You know why Jesus did that, had three witnesses?  So that we would recognize that it was true, hard as it is to believe.  Yes, it is something we just have to believe; we take it on Faith even though we were not there to see it first-hand because we believe in Jesus and he went to the trouble to assure there were three witnesses!


So now, let us get to experience the transfiguration.  Imagine that as we are climbing alongside of Jesus, Peter, James, and John to experience the transfiguration with them,

we see that they are just 4 ordinary human beings walking, climbing the hill of life.  But now we come to the top of the mountain with them, and suddenly Jesus is transfigured before our eyes so that his face shines brightly and he is dressed in a dazzling pure white gown that radiates light, goodness, and glory- not just any ordinary brightness, but a dazzling brightness, brighter than anything you have seen, a knock your socks off type brightness.  Notice that this is a glory that comes from within Jesus, the glory of Almighty God in all its purity and love; and it is overwhelming!  Are you overwhelmed yet?


We are seeing what has been veiled all along as we walked up the mountain because of Jesus’ humanity.  The story of His life that we read in the Gospels is so human isn’t it- born in a stable; growing up as a carpenter; hanging out with a group of fisherman; dying a horrible painful death on a cross.  We have trouble thinking of Him as divine.  But now, in this vision, it is easy to see His divinity in the radiance of His transfigured face and clothes.  He has moved beyond the pain and suffering and he is on the other side.  We know that because we have also seen Him as the Resurrected Lord.  How truly magnificent that is.


But let’s get back to the story.  Before we can react to this vision, we see something else.  We see Moses and Elijah standing there talking to Jesus.  No kidding- Moses and Elijah all dressed up like royalty are there.  Moses, who gave the people the Law of God; and Elijah, who was a prince among the prophets are there.  They are standing there transfigured as well; radiant and bright; talking to Jesus who stands out amongst them.  Only their radiance is a gift; it comes from the outside of them and shines on them.  It doesn’t come from within them because only God radiates that kind of joy, light, and peace.


They are talking to Jesus about how he will suffer and die in Jerusalem.  Moses is validating that all of this will be done in accordance with the Law he received from God the Father.  Elijah validates that his prophecies and the prophecies of all the prophets will be met.

And so Moses and Elijah in their glorified state, are bearing witness to the testimony of Jesus from the last 6 days to his disciples, that he, Jesus, would have to suffer and die before experiencing His ultimate glory.


The ethereal nature of the scene begins now to dawn on Peter, James, and John now.   Peter, well-meaning though he may be, says something really dumb:  “It is good for us to be here; let us build three tents, one for each of you”.  As if the glory of God that is shining forth from Jesus, and shining on Moses, and Elijah needs to be protected by tents; as if Peter, James, and John can hope to contain this glory all for themselves by taking up residence on this mountain, and just staying there forever as they wanted.


How about you and I!  What are we thinking as we experience this scene!  Are we, like Peter, so taken by the heavenly feeling of the moment,  that we would try to constrain it just for ourselves?  Or are we so exuberant we want to share it with everyone else  so they, too can experience the joy?


But then, behold, the third heavenly witness besides Moses and Elijah enters the scene.  Because a bright cloud casts a shadow over them, and God the Father’s voice is heard from inside that cloud.  A piercing, penetrating voice like thunder says:“ This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; listen to him”.  At this, Peter, James, and John prostrate themselves

Overcome with fear and respect.


I am certain I would have done the same.  How about you?  And I am also certain that this would have been enough.  I have seen what glory awaits Jesus after He completes His mission; and I understand that by promise, the same glory that is resting on Moses and Elijah awaits us who follow Jesus as well.  And now I have heard God the Father with unmistakable clarity.  I have seen and heard enough to know that this glory has existed for thousands upon thousands of years; even millions and millions of years, and in fact forever.  Forever!


So, what is next?  Well, in a flash, it is all over.  Jesus is standing there alone- no Moses, no Elijah, no glorified body, no cloud, no God the Father.  Jesus taps Peter, James, and John, and you and I as well, and says “Let’s go”.  Yes, let’s go, there is still much to do because unlike Peter, James, and John, we are not being asked to keep it all a secret.  It is after the Resurrection for us, and we are being sent forth as witnesses to tell the whole world.


How do we do that?  We are all, after all, witnesses.  We have heard the call and lived the life- 60, 70, 80 years or more of it.  And we still have Life and we still have Faith.

But even more to the point, now we have seen the glory of the Lord.  We know that we are in the midst of the Kingdom right now.  We have closed our eyes and have seen it, felt it with our hearts  We have seen how we are destined to be transfigured ourselves.

No matter how much longer we have to wait, it is worth it.  Because we know that those who believe and follow will be in glory with God Forever.  Amen!

Taking a Pilgrimage to see Jesus

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

18th Sunday Week in Ordinary Time

Is 55: 1-3; Rom 8: 35, 37-39; Mt 14: 13-21

Dc. Larry Brockman


Why don’t we take a little pilgrimage together today in our minds. Imagine that you are the boy with the 5 loaves and two fish in the Gospel story.  Together with your parents, you are going to see what this popular teacher, Jesus, has to say.  A huge crowd of over 15,000 people are there with you on the shores of the lake at the village.  Yes, 15,000, not just 5,000 because 5,000 was just the men.  And 15,000 would have been an immense number of people in that day and age, one third of the population of Jerusalem .  It fact, it was the largest crowd Jesus ever addressed in his three year career.   

Back to you, now- the kid with the food.  You were prepared for lunch; but most of the folks around you were not.  After all they thought they could always visit the market close by if they got hungry.  But now, the great crowd around you sees that Jesus is headed off in a boat with his disciples.  Somebody shouts out “He’s headed towards Bethsaida”.  And, in a frenzy, everyone moves out to try to beat Jesus there- about twice the distance by land than by boat.  Imagine how enthusiastic the crowd must have been to walk, even trot most of the way.  Nobody had time to stop and get food; and everybody was pretty well spent by the time they get there.  But they were in luck, because they beat the boat there.   

Moved with pity, Jesus proceeds to preach to the crowd.  In a sense He was moved to feed them what they came for-  His stories about the good news, the kingdom of God.  And Jesus heals many of them for good measure. 

As all this happens, time flies by, and now it is evening.  You are in a deserted place, hours from any market or restaurant.  Everyone is hungry; you hear the disciples and crowd talking about it.  And you realize you’ve got some food- five little buns and two dried up fish.  You go to the teacher’s disciples and offer to give up what you have so it can be shared with everyone else.  Suddenly, you are being told to take them directly to Jesus.  Jesus looks up to heaven, blesses the food, and asks the 15,000 people to recline.  Bible scholars tell us that the words in Greek were like a request to be seated at a formal banquet.  And so the 15,000 people recline in neat little circles, as at a banquet, in the lush green grass-  no panic, no skepticism, no resistance to the Lord’s orders.  And there is plenty of food for all 15,000 people!   

Let me make a couple of observations here.  First, this was the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels except for the Resurrection itself- the one and only.  So, it must have been considered significant and important.  Second, there are few if any books in antiquity that describe miracle workers and their deeds- so Jesus is unique.  And lastly 12 large whicker baskets of remnants are both literally and symbolically huge.  In first century Palestine, there was seldom enough food to totally satisfy 15,000 people at a time.  But in fact, after they have had their fill, there were 12 large whicker hampers full of food left!  Twelve symbolizes abundance; and so from five loaves and two fish, twelve baskets implies tremendous abundance.   

What a miracle, what an experience.  But what does it really all mean?  Is the message summed up in the magnitude of the miracle?   Was the message that Jesus was proven to be God  because only God is capable of such miracles?  Or was there a deeper message for us?   

Well, consider this:  Jesus was primarily concerned with feeding souls in this story.  All day long he had told them of the Kingdom of God and had urged them to repent.  He had told them that they could make a difference if they did that.  Jesus first reaction to the disciple’s message that the people were hungry is one of surprise.  He orders the disciples to feed them.  It’s as if he is saying “I have been feeding them the bread of life all day long; you can take care of their temporal needs.”   So, had his real message fallen on deaf ears?  Because after all of that teaching, the people were now concerned about food, they were not fired up over His message.   

Now if you truly played the role of the boy with the basket of food in this story, then you should recognize that you were loving and generous.  In the face of impossible odds, you offered what little you had without hesitation for the good of all.  The disciples in John’s Gospel accounts are sarcastic about it.  “There is a boy with 5 barley loaves and two fish, but what is that among so many”?  But the child, the boy, is an innocent, and offers his food unencumbered by those odds.  And from that source of food, an abundance flows.   How ironic that the young boy with the meager lunch would show them what could happen if they really listened to Jesus and lived his message of love.   

Our Isaiah reading, today, emphasizes the abundance of blessings available from God.  And so, perhaps this miracle is a message to all of us that no matter how small our contribution,  If we offer it to God with humility, sincerity, and good intentions, as the boy with the five loaves did, then God will respond to us with abundance.   

We are lacking much in today’s world.  There are terrible things going on in the Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Palestine.  We are still hampered by a sluggish economy at home; and we see moral decay all around us in the media.  This can all seem overwhelming to us.  And so we come here to Church each week hoping to hear something that will help, just like the 15,000 people on a deserted slope in Palestine did 2000 years ago.  Perhaps, just perhaps, we need to be like the boy that offered his food.  Rather than what you can get, what can you give.  Whatever it is that you have in means, talent, or time, figure out how to do your part.  Then offer something up sincerely and with humility.  Not just one or two of you.  But as Father Ennis says- “All of you”.  And then watch the abundance flow from God because God can make a difference.