“Recognising the nearness of the Lord even in the unfamiliar contexts of life and filling our apparent emptiness with His Presence!”
(Based on Jas 1:12-18 and Mk 8:14-21)
A little boy – staying in the city – was to go with his family to his native village with his family.
On the night before leaving, he made a prayer to God:
“Good bye, Dear God!
>> We are going to the village tomorrow.
See you after 5 days! Take care!”
Though this prayer expresses a lovely dimension of prayer…
… and the innocence of a child’s immense love for God
>> This prayer is also a reflection of many of us “elders” who feel that when we move away from familiar places/situations…
… we are out of the sight of God!
Is my life of faith only dependant on “familiar situations” and “moments of comfort”…
… to feel that God is near me?
>> Do I feel very uncomfortable and lost spiritually, when things seem too alien or situations seem to be too unfamiliar?
The Gospel of the Day presents an experience of the disciples…
… an experience of not “feeling the closeness of the Power of Jesus”, despite the fact that He was with them
…an experience of “feeling lost and uncomfortable” on facing an unfamiliar situation.
Jesus is off on the boat again, with His disciples, to travel to the other shore (Mk 8:13)
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread along with them, and they had only one loaf with them. (Mk 8:14).
Jesus, meanwhile, began to make use of the time of journey, for rendering a teaching on True Discipleship.
Incidentally, He spoke on the need to be aware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod…
… the leaven of malice and wickedness (1 Cor 5:8)
… the leaven of deception and misleading (Gal 5:8-9)
The disciples, however, got it all wrong.
Their minds were still focussed on the bread.
>> They were still figuring how out, how they missed to get bread.
>> They were still trying to see how they could all adjust, with one bread.
And so, when Jesus spoke of leaven – one of the main ingredients in bread – they thought that Jesus was chastising them, for not having taken bread.
But Jesus now shows the disciples what is to be the main focus…
>> He makes them realise what was more important and needed.
The disciples were more concerned…
… with food and security.
… with material needs and concerns.
But the Lord, now, reminds them to “become aware of the Power of His Presence”
He exhorts them to peel off…
… the layers of only material concerns
… the layers of only worldly needs
… the layers of only earthly apprehensions.
The disciples were concerned that they had only one bread…
>> But they failed to see that they had the One and Only Bread of Life!
The disciples were concerned that their food may not be sufficient…
>> But they failed to see that they had the One who multiplied bread for four thousands and five thousands!
They failed to understand!
>> They failed to look beyond!
In our life journey, we too sometimes fall short of material and earthly needs.
• Do we also get perplexed and anxious like the disciples?
• Do we also fail to see beyond and realise the more important needs of life?
• Do we also fail to understand that the presence of the Lord matters much more than any other earthly aspect?
Let us realise and understand that even when things seem too alien or situations seem to be too unfamiliar…
… God and His Power is close to me!
We might sometimes feel that when we move away from familiar places/situations…
… we are out of the sight of God.
But let us come to realise that even in “unfamiliar situations” and “moments of discomfort”…
… God is near me!
Let us fill…
… the apparent emptiness of our lives with the Love and Spirit of the Lord.
… the seeming vacuum within us, with the Peace and Passion for the Lord.
God bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “When stags have put on too much flesh, they move away and hide in the bushes.
>> They are not aware that they are burdened with fat, and would not be able to run fast, if they happen to be attacked.
So when our heart is burdened with useless, irrelevant and dangerous attachments…
… we surely cannot run towards God – promptly, joyfully and easily – which is the true sign of devotion!