Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on April 12, 2013

Christ Feeding 5000Gospel reading of the day:

John 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

boy_in_the_rainReflection on the gospel reading: A small boy in a crowd of hungry people has a precious meal to sustain him. To the world, this boy is nameless and powerless: entirely dismissible. Yet it is his small gift which allows 5,000 to have their fill of loaves and fish, and an unimportant and forgettable boy’s contribution makes possible a story which has fed the hearts of countless millions across two millenniums. It is easy to believe we can do nothing of consequence and use our perceived impotence to do nothing, but Mother Teresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.” But ironically, the boy’s effort to feed just one became food for 5,000 and subsequently sustenance for millions.

God uses unimportant people and insignificant actions to do God’s work. This happens all the time; even Jesus walked unmemorable dusty paths as an itinerant preacher in the backwaters of an unimportant country, culminating his ministry ignominiously on a cross with the death of a criminal.

The little boy’s ministry calls us to recognize we all are instruments in God’s hands, and it calls us to recognize that the people who surround us, whom we count of little importance, are in truth carrying something from God. The boy, his loaves, and his fish are evidence that of the Tamud’s prescription, “He would saves a life, saves a world entire.” God does great things with what the world considers mean and of little account.

Saint of the day: Saint Joseph Moscati was born in Italy in 1880. A physician, a medical school professor, and a biochemist, he was canonized in 1987. He was the seventh of nine children born to aristocratic Italian parents. His father’s was a magistrate who still served at the altar when they attended mass in the chapel of the Poor Clares.

Joseph MoscatiWhen Joseph was a teenager, his older brother (who was in the artillery) fell from a horse and sustained permanent brain damage. Through years of tending his injured brother at home, Joseph’s desire to do medicine grew. He went to medical school at the University of Naples. He studied rigorously and frequented daily Mass. He suffered much grief when his father died during his first year in medical school. He pressed on and graduated with a degree in Medicine and Surgery, summa cum laude, when he was only 23 years old in 1903. In 1906, he heroically saved many patients who could have died in the hospital when the roof was collapsing during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. He also was known to save many during a cholera epidemic in 1911. Later that same year, he became holder of the Naples University Chair in Chemical Physiology. Around 1912 or 1913, he made a vow of chastity, consecrating himself to a life of Giuseppe_Moscaticelibacy. He then aspired to be a Jesuit but was discouraged by the Jesuit priests who discerned that God’s will was for Dr. Moscati to remain in the world as a physician. In 1914, the start of World War I, his mother died. He volunteered in the Italian Army and became a major. He cared for the wounded soldiers and helped them become good Catholics.

Dr. Moscati’s philosophy for medical practice was to save souls by caring for the body. He believed that the health of the body depended upon the soul remaining in the state of grace. He is quoted in saying that “one must attend first to the salvation of the soul and only then to that of the body.” Through his practice, he helped many lapsed Catholics to return to the Sacraments. His favorite patients were the poor, the homeless, the religious and the priests-all from whom he would never accept payment. He actually went as far as secretly leaving his money within a patient’s prescription or under a patient’s pillow. One day he even refused payment from all his patients because they were working people. He died after lunch on April 12, 1927 having been to Mass and received holy communion (as he did each day). He was 47 when he died.

Spiritual reading: The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. (Rob Bell)


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